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BT Deny Planning to Challenge York City’s Fibre Optic Network in EU Court

Thursday, Sep 12th, 2013 (1:08 pm) - Score 1,043

CityFibre, which in 2011 completed the construction of a new 10Gbps (Gigabits per second) capable and 103km long fibre optic ring network in the English city of York (The York CORE), has claimed that BT might be attempting to disrupt their infrastructure by threatening to challenge its use through the European courts. But BT states there’s “no truth” to the claim.

The alleged tactic sounds remarkably similar to BT and Virgin Media’s controversial legal challenge to Birmingham’s Smart City plan (here), which is believed to have contributed towards competition concerns that eventually helped to stall the infrastructure investment side of the £150m+ Urban Broadband Fund (i.e. it could have been challenged but that would have created a significant delay).

As a result the idea that BT might attempt to disrupt York’s network in a similar way is not without precedence. Similarly CityFibre’s recent move to begin offering a rival service to local businesses, which could be considered a threat to BT, might well fuel that perception. However York’s network, unlike the one in Birmingham, was not built with public money.

Mark Collins, CityFibre’s Director of Policy and Regulation, said (Computing):

The network we built for York was put in with Cityfibre’s own money, we built it with our own investment scheme. York City Council became the first user of the infrastructure that went through open public procurement in 2009. And now, in 2013, BT is saying that it should be challenged in the EU courts – because they see it as a competitive threat and they think it shouldn’t be there.

The Birmingham project was meant to be the flagship project for the other cities, but BT’s success in blocking it had the effect of killing any form of private investment. As a result, the whole ‘super-connected’ scheme has come down to a programme which is lobbied heavily by BT and Virgin into a voucher scheme.”

A spokesperson for BT has since told ISPreview.co.uk that there was “no truth” to CityFibre’s claims and expressed surprise and anger that Computing’s article, which they’ve branded as “utter nonsense“, had been run despite the claims allegedly having “no merit“. BT also stressed that it had no plans at present to challenge CityFibre’s deployment in York via the EU courts.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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