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BTOpenreach Tweaks UK Line Rental and Ethernet Prices for 2015

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 (12:58 pm) - Score 3,066

BTOpenreach, which holds the responsibility for maintaining much of BT’s national telecoms network across the United Kingdom, has on New Year’s Eve announced a heap of new price reductions and increases for their line rental (WLR and LLU), Ethernet and various other connectivity services.

The changes, which will become effective from 1st April 2015, appear to be broadly in line with Ofcom’s requirements under their Fixed Access Market Reviews 2014 (FAMR) and related Charge Controls. Typically these prices represent what ISPs pay and that’s before we factor in the cost of additional services and the need for providers to make a profit, thus the retail price is often a fair bit higher.

As usual there are literally hundreds of changes (here and here) and so we’ll only highlight some of the more interesting or consumer relevant adjustments. For example, BT’s own Basic Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) product will see its annual rental charge of £91.05 reduced by -1.7% to £89.50 (£7.45 +vat per month) and the one-off new supply charge will fall by -6.6% to £41.55.

Elsewhere ISPs that make use of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU allows providers to take over full or partial control of BT’s lines by installing their own kit in the operators telephone exchanges), such as TalkTalk and Sky Broadband, will see the rental price of a fully unbundled (MPF) line increase by +1.6% to £87.48. Meanwhile the one-off charge for a new connection will fall by -1.5% to £45.74.

It’s also interesting to note that Openreach will be increasing the energy usage price for LLU and Access Locate by 8.97% to 12.88 pence per kWh (kilowatt-hour) in line with the terms of the LLU (Revised Access Network Facilities Agreement) and Access Locate contracts. Apparently this change is being driven by an increase in BT’s raw energy costs.

On top of all that Openreach’s Excess Construction Charges (ECC) and Ethernet Cablelink services will also see rises of between 1.6% and 2.3% across the board. A lot of the various changes reflect the usual inflationary increases, although some relate more directly to Ofcom’s regulatory approach.

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23 Responses
  1. Avatar cowboy says:

    The cowboys ripping people off with there line rental and they cap peoples lines which they should leave well alone but the pricks cannot do that .

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      Did you read the article ? 🙂

      Line rental is down, Openreach don’t cap anything they provide the underlying infrastructure for others to turn into a product you can buy

    2. Avatar hmmm says:

      fibrefred I beg to differ and your totally wrong the cowboys of openreach do cap the lines as ive had it done and they mess about with the crappy website of what speeds you suppose to get.

    3. Avatar Rusty says:

      I can assure you they don’t cap anything. Openreach are line providers. ISPs have their own equipment to manage the connection and data, it’s called LLU. Perhaps BT Wholesale, who provide DSL services to other ISPs to resell, cap lines, but Openreach certainly wouldn’t, without a massive backlash from LLU providers.

    4. Avatar hmmm says:

      They do cap lines via vdsl and there pathetic services they provide but if you mention it to the isp they blame each other as they don’t want to take the blame .

    5. Avatar Rusty says:

      Perhaps you are talking about capacity issues rather than capping? There is a cap i.e. 38Mb or 78Mb which is what is sold to the EU, but the handover port to the ISPs network at the exchange may be reaching its capacity. I know where I work we are having to install additional cable links at some exchanges due to the sheer volume of traffic at peak times.

    6. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      Openreach do not cap DSL lines. Firstly, on ADSL, they don’t have any technical capability to do so as they don’t operate the MSANs/DSLAMs which are either LLU or BTW run. In the case of VDSL, they do run those (and set things like the noise margins and sync speed limits for the packages – although even then, SPs have the ability to decide on things like upload speect; hence Plusnet have a 40/20 package, TT a 40/2 and so on). However, there is no cap on the link back to the fibre handover point and from thereon it’s all down to the amount of bandwidth that the SP cares to provide/buy.

      Any caps (within the limits of the GEA-FTTP package definitions) are down to SPs, not OpenReach.

    7. Avatar hmmm says:

      well these estimates with bt crappy site I joined vdsl my speed estimate was 22 min and 32mbps max not the idiots have now said my speed ranges are 18mbps and 26mbps when I can get 17mbps on adsl2+

    8. Avatar Rusty says:

      I’m sure that capping would be against the terms of your contract, unless capping was a clause? If you don’t have a capping clause why not issue a formal complaint to your ISP, and failing that then the regulator? Estimated line speeds can increase and decrease as additional data is taken into account. Openreach refresh their data regularly, so I doubt this is evidence of ‘capping’ your line.

    9. Avatar hmmm says:

      @rusty ive already made a complaint to All talk and probably get no joy like Ofcom because them idiots haven’t a clue either but even if they refresh there data regular it still doesn’t make sense as have had this done before via adsl2+ and had to basically complain because openreach goons haven’t a clue. You should be able to ring openreach goons up but no because they would have more complaints than anything that’s why they hide behind the isp and the isp has to get intouch they have no backbone openreach and stand up for themselves .

    10. Avatar No Clue says:

      “I can assure you they don’t cap anything.”

      Spoken like a true BT employee.

      “There is a cap i.e. 38Mb or 78Mb which is what is sold to the EU”

      Huh when did BT or any FTTC provider start selling “78Mb”? For someone handing out assurances it would help if you knew what was generally sold.

    11. Avatar hmmm says:

      no clue id say they do due to the fact theres only the openreach cowboys who visit the green cabinets and adjust this and that so 100% its them to blame for capping lines at certain speeds.

  2. Avatar GNewton says:

    Basic Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) product: £89.50
    Fully unbundled (MPF) line: £87.48

    Since BT Retail is supposed to operate independently from Openreach, BT Retail should make massive use of LLU, alas it doesn’t! In practice, these BT companies are not truely separated.

    Also makes you wonder why the monthly line rental should be a whopping £16 per month (though that’s incl. VAT, but still way too high!). The many flavors of copper-DSL, or BT Sports needs to be paid from somewhere…

    1. Avatar FibreFred says:

      I don’t know if it’s too high or not as I don’t know the cost of supply / maintenance / development of new products

      What about yourself I assume you do ?

    2. Avatar Steve Jones says:


      You misunderstand the BT Ofcom settlement. There is no requirement for BT Retail to operate independently of BTOR or BTW from a strategic point of view. The settlement states that BTOR and BTW must operate on the basis of equivalence of service and product development. That doesn’t mean that a strategic decision can’t be made at the highest level over things like supplier choice. Indeed, there is specific allowance in the settlement for the BT board to be able to make group strategic decisions.

      As it happens the subject of BTR becoming an LLU operator did arise. It was a route favoured by a past CEO of BT Retail (Pierre Danon), but was rejected as it would have done enormous damage to BT Wholesale and would have been (from a group perspective) a very inefficient use of capital to duplicate infrastructure. There was also the very real issue that Ofcom would have very likely seen this as a move to undermine the settlement, as such investment by BTR would not have been subject to wholesaling requirements, and it would have adversely impacted costs of BTW services and therefore those operators dependent on BTW for all, or part of their broadband services with BTW’s major customer having been lost.


    3. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      BT Retail buy from Wholesale due to BT Group politics. Pierre Danon, then head of BT Retail, began to explore using LLU in 2004 and departed the job not that long afterwards.

      They aren’t entirely separate, of course, but the main issue is that Retail are Wholesale’s largest customer and Wholesale are in turn Openreach’s largest customer so that carries some influence regardless of who the customer is.

    4. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      Line rental is high because for whatever reason people hate paying for broadband but appear to be far less reluctant to pay for line rental.

      We are using more bandwidth than ever before and our usage of it is increasing by 60%+ per year, yet the slightest hint of a price increase and we’re up in arms complaining and hitting the price comparison sites to find the cheapest possible deal, and God help that company if the quality of this cheapest possible deal’s broadband isn’t immaculate.

      They have to hide their increasing broadband costs somewhere and line rental is that place. This includes Virgin Media, their network capacity upgrades cost a fair chunk of change.

      Add to that of course that BT Sport needs to be paid for in the case of BT and you’re about there.

      The manner in which the large players swiftly follow BT is pretty cartel-like behaviour though, which is alarming.

  3. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    Another article on this. Much as I admired Guy Kewney, I think his summary was a bit short. This is rather more comprehensive.


  4. Avatar hmmm says:

    lol Ignitionnet you have it round the wrong way people hate to pay line rental and would pay for the broadband but like the british thieves of BT and poxie Ofcom and there bright ideas you forced to have a bloody landline.

    1. Avatar Rusty says:

      You do realise that if LLU operators provided a DSL-only service, the line rental would just be absorbed into the broadband cost so at most you’d save a few quid a month?

    2. Avatar hmmm says:

      rusty theres always a clause or catch in everything its rip off Britain . 🙂

    3. Avatar Ignitionnet says:

      The success of TalkTalk’s free broadband with a phone service suggests otherwise.

    4. Avatar Steve Jones says:

      It’s perfectly possible for an LLU operator to sell a broadband only service, but it would be hardly an difference in cost to the one with a voice service as the fixed costs are virtually identical. Indeed, a broadband only service might even cost a bit more as operators will look at the complete revenue (broadband and voice combined) to recover costs, and without voice revenue, the entire cost will have to be borne by the broadband service.

      The marginal cost of providing a voice service is virtually zero as modern MSANs can provide both voice and data service through a single port.

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