UK regulator Ofcom has finalized its plans to boost investment in high-speed fiber, placing the onus on incumbent BT to ensure a level playing field for rivals.
Ofcom confirmed it will enforce virtual unbundling of BT’s fiber network, allow the operator to set wholesale prices and open BT’s ducts and telegraph poles to competing firms in areas it doesn’t plan to deploy fiber.
It will establish rules to prevent BT setting unfair wholesale prices, and require the incumbent to offer in-depth data about the capacity and quality of its infrastructure, with an initial assessment required by mid-January.
Chief Ed Richards said the regulator had set out a framework that will “promote investment, competition and innovation,” in the UK broadband market.
Although investment in next generation access networks in the past two years means almost half of UK homes already have access to high-speed broadband, Ofcom says the market is still in its infancy in terms of competition.
Ofcom said the number of unbundled lines in the country passed seven million last month.
Rivals Virgin Media and TalkTalk were quick to take advantage of Ofcom’s framework, with Virgin announcing it would take up the access to BT ducts and poles and TalkTalk revealing plans for a virtual service.