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UPDATE2 Ofcom Propose to Open BT Dark Fibre Optic Network to UK Rivals

Friday, May 15th, 2015 (8:19 am) - Score 4,008
fibre optic cable duct connectivity

In a surprise move Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review (BCMR2016) has done a U-turn on its 2012 policy by proposing that rival ISPs, specifically those that provide Leased Lines, should be granted access to BT’s national Dark Fibre network (i.e. un-lit fibre optic lines that have spare capacity for coping with future demand).

The last Ofcom review of business connectivity was conducted in 2012 (here and here), which similarly investigated the provision of leased lines across the United Kingdom’s £2bn market for business telecoms and flatly rejected the idea of using so-called Passive Remedies, such as Dark Fibre access.

At the time the regulator said that such an approach would “carry significant risks of worse outcomes, both for consumers and for effective competition, including adding costs and encouraging inefficient entry.” But this position now appears to be changing.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Competition Group Director, said:

High-speed, fibre optic leased lines are invisible to most people. But they form a critical building block in the UK’s infrastructure that underpins people’s personal and working lives.

Today’s proposals should help businesses across the UK who rely on high-speed data lines. We want to see more innovation, faster installations and more competition, by providing operators with the opportunity to deploy the technologies of their choice.”

The signs were all there in March 2015 when BT, Virgin Media and KC clubbed together for an open letter to Ofcom (here), which warned the regulator that such a change could result in higher prices and “significant regulatory uncertainty, undermining the return on sunk investments and therefore disincentivising future infrastructure investments“. It also states that “allowing multiple operators to tamper with the physical network will cause service faults for customers“.

BT’s 2014 Response to the BCMR 2016 Call for Input

Our analysis shows that far from delivering significant incremental benefits, passive remedies would have a number of serious drawbacks. In particular, cherry picking by CPs using passive remedies would force BT to recover common costs elsewhere, to the detriment of end-users of the affected products, and CPs’ incentives to invest in their own networks would be reduced.

Further, the use of currently unallocated passive capacity by other CPs would negatively impact on BT’s ability to use this capacity for future growth. This would violate the principle of allowing BT a “fair bet” on its investments.”

But today’s announcement tables a number of big proposals, including a new minimum Quality of Service performance requirement for BTOpenreach that would force the operator to speed up its installations of high-speed Ethernet services (leased lines), which is similar to their earlier consumer focused telecoms review (here).

On top of that Ofcom plans to deregulate in some areas of the Leased Lines market, including lifting supply and pricing requirements on all but the oldest services in central London, where competition is now deemed “sufficient to make this unnecessary“.

Similarly BT will no longer face Ofcom’s requirements on their very low-bandwidth (sub-2Mbps) leased lines (these are due to be withdrawn by 2020 anyway). Finally there’s the Dark Fibre change, which is easily the biggest one and will apply to areas outside central London (Hull is also excluded as KC is the incumbent).

Ofcom’s Dark Fibre Statement

Ofcom is proposing that BT should give competitors physical access to its fibre-optic cables, allowing competing operators to take direct control of the connection. This service is often referred to as dark fibre, because the fibre-optic cables would not be ‘lit’ using BT’s electronic equipment. Instead, they would be ‘lit’ by the competitor installing its own equipment at either end of the cable.

BT is already required to offer wholesale leased line products, which bundle the fibre-optic cable and BT’s own network equipment, at regulated prices to competitors. BT would still be required to provide these services, but the new proposal would go further, allowing operators to use BT’s fibre-optic cables with their own equipment, rather than rely on BT’s.

This should increase the opportunity for competitors to create tailored, high-capacity data links at cost-effective prices for their customers.

The move is likely to please quite a few operators, not least Vodafone, which fears that BT might gain an unfair competitive advantage when they take full control of EE because it would allow them to leverage their vast fixed line network in order to lower the costs of mobile provision. Other rivals also see Dark Fibre as a way to cost effectively speed up the deployment of their own alternative networks.

As usual Ofcom’s proposals will be subject to another consultation, which is set to run until 31st July 2015 and if all goes well then a final decision could be confirmed during Q1 2016. The measures would then be introduced from April 2016.

However the Dark Fibre solution would not become available to telecoms providers until April 2017 because an agreement on pricing would have to be reached first and this would require a difficult engagement between BT and its rivals. In the event that BT and their rivals could not agree terms for dark fibre access then Ofcom could intervene to finalise these terms (we wouldn’t be surprised if that happens).

Ofcom BCMR 2016 Consultation
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/bcmr-2015/

UPDATE 9:07am:

BT has kindly furnished us with a statement.

A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

Openreach’s current offer creates a level playing field and a vibrant, competitive market with hundreds of competing companies, large and small.

Mandating dark fibre risks favouring a few companies that have the greatest capability to deploy it, to the disadvantage of all other firms.

It will undermine investment – as a number of service providers have warned – and it would also increase costs, divert resources and add more complexity just when we’re beginning to make progress on improving service.”

UPDATE 9:39am:

Now a reaction from Cityfibre, which is installing fibre optic networks around several UK cities.

Greg Mesch, CEO of CityFibre, said:

CityFibre welcomes Ofcom’s proposal that BT is compelled to make dark fibre available by April 2017 as part of its Business Connectivity Market Review (BCMR)

Dark fibre has been validated worldwide as the only infrastructure platform to deliver cost-effective, future-proof digital connectivity fit for purpose in the decades to come. As one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of fibre infrastructure, CityFibre has long championed making dark fibre widely available in the UK, placing it at the core of our Gigabit City projects in York, Peterborough, Coventry, Aberdeen and Edinburgh over the last three years.

Ofcom has made clear the need to balance investment, innovation and competition in the UK telecoms infrastructure and services space. CityFibre has a proven track record of investing, innovating and competing in the provision of state of the art fibre communications infrastructure. In the last year alone, we have delivered the UK’s first dark fibre solution to a Public Services Network (PSN) project, the first dark fibre solution to mobile operators, EE and Three and the first trial of a dark fibre Fibre-to-the-Home through a joint project with Sky and TalkTalk. In the process we’ve seen demand grow, which is evident in our plans to commit investment to dozens of new cities in the coming years

While CityFibre welcomes Ofcom’s decision as a clear validation of our business model, we urge it in the strongest possible terms to ensure that any future approach to pricing in no way distorts the market or discourages investment by independent infrastructure builders.

The task of redressing the legacy of decades of underinvestment in the UK for fibre infrastructure is too large and important to be left to solely one monopoly provider, and the role of smaller, entrepreneurial players must not be underestimated or undervalued. It is essential that a pro-investment environment, which preserves supplier diversity and encourages network competition, be established and safeguarded for decades to come.”

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Mark Jackson
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 Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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55 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    Can anyone explain ‘dark fibre’ in practical terms?

    At first, it reads as if BT have a stack of cables and capacity buried more or less everywhere, so if someone wants a FTTP connection it’s no hassle, the nearest connection point won’t be more than a few hundred metres away.

    Except that’s not what happens. Business wants FTTP, needs survey, quote, scratching of heads, how can me adapt a phone network, nearest connection point miles away – five figure sum please. We’re a phone network. Needs a lot of work.

    There is fibre out to cabinets e.g. deeper into the network but presumably that is supposed to serve capacity from said cabinets now and in the future. I see the logic in which the government paid for some of it to go in so therefore now feels it’s OK to tell BT “we want rights to it back again” through OFCOM not least because the EU’s guidance explicitly states that State funded tech (all of it) should be available to rivals albeit only for 7 years, but I’m not seeing how that helps other providers run local loops, that being where BT stopped with said fibre.

    So what is “dark fibre” and how could someone else use it?

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Dark fibre is simply where fibre is already in the ground and just hasn’t been terminated to the communication equipment (what’s called “unlit”. When BT (or other operators) put fibre into the network, then there will be unused fibres to allow for expansion, faults and so on (as with telephone cables of course).
      Clearly that doesn’t mean that fibre has been installed everywhere, but what this proposal means is that other operators would be given access to these unused fibres installed by BT where they weren’t there for a reserved purpose (like allowing for expected capacity growth).
      This one is potentially dynamite. Expect to see a lot of fuss about this one.

    • Avatar Astroturfer

      Dark fibre isn’t used to connect ‘end users’ as such, it’ll be used for backhaul, core networks, etc.

    • Avatar DTMark

      So broadly speaking, it only runs through pre-existing ducting?

      The EU guidelines require that other operators have access to it if it was put in with State Aid (if I recall what the document said correctly) but not to ‘dark fibre’ as such – to whatever the State paid for – parts of ‘the solution’ e.g. whatever BDUK spent money on.

      But in that respect that ruling isn’t about ‘dark fibre’ as such. I’m wondering what the fixation on that is.

    • Avatar Astroturfer

      Not broadly speaking. It’s pre-existing fibre in pre-existing ducts just with nothing either end so it’s not lit.

  2. Avatar Tom

    ‘Mandating dark fibre risks favouring a few companies that have the greatest capability to deploy it, to the disadvantage of all other firms.’ – Cringeworthy BT hypocrisy at it’s best!

    • Avatar FibreFred

      It’s their fibre?

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      BT’s statement may be self-serving (I’m not sure why it’s considered hypocritical), but other companies who specialise in dark fibre deployment are already expressing concern. Cityfibre have already issued a statement where they are very worried that if dark fibre wholesale prices were set at a low level (in the manner of MPF), that it would wipe out their business model. In effect, it would wipe out any competitive deployment of dark fibre as Openreach’s natural economies of scale would just dominate. Of course, Ofcom might yet just introduce one of their “margin squeeze tests”, so that dark fibre is priced at a high enough level to allow competitive networks to operate (which introduces distortion of its own), but there is no easy solution.

      Of course we might just end up with Openreach offering the fibre equivalent of MPF products with cost-orientated pricing which would make it very difficult for alternative infrastructure providers to compete. It’s also something of a disincentive to make large capital investments. Why bother investing your own capital when you can just piggy-back on that made by another company without incurring the risk yourself.

    • Avatar DTMark

      But in much of the country, BT didn’t invest their own capital. They held out the carrot to the government and got the taxpayer to pay for most of it. And one of the stipulations for that was that access should be to all providers.

      It’s a murky world when private and public mix together.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @DTMark

      In the case of BDUK financed work, I’m not sure what the regulatory position is with respect to the fibre backhaul beyond the GEA/FTTC and GEA/FTTO products. The issue would arise should Openreach be allowed to use any of this for the provision of private leased lines. I’ve never been able to find out.

      In any event, this covers all fibre, not just publicly funded (the rules of which should be governed by EU state funding regulations). The great majority of this “dark fibre” will not be financed this way, especially as it’s probably got the greatest importance in commercial areas.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “But in much of the country, BT didn’t invest their own capital. They held out the carrot to the government and got the taxpayer to pay for most of it”

      Is that what happened or did they just use their own dark fibre?

    • @Steve – The state aid permits BDUK infrastructure re-use and indeed demands it for provision of fibre to mobile networks. The revenues are included in the clawback arrangements.

    • Avatar DTMark

      With respect to the State Aid guidelines for BDUK-specific deployments this appears to be covered by

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-aid-eu-guidelines-for-the-application-of-state-aid-rules

      78 (g) in the PDF

      “Effective Wholesale access must be provided”

      Next, price comes into it. You could argue that the PIA “product” which nobody wants to use because of the terms and costs, is justifiable because BT bought the network, the ducting is theirs, and there has never been a ruling on price which attracts potential users mostly because it does not provide anything that is necessarily “ready to run” or even usable. It was never a workable product. So it seems attention now turns to stuff that is workable. Already in the ground.

      So, what should be the price for access to all the BDUK kit for other operators? Since it was largely taxpayer funded then the arguments against ruling on PIA prices would not seem to exist. This was always going to come up at some point.

      BT cannot moan about “others using their investments” because they were not “their investments”. If they were, for instance, this ruling were to apply to Virgin Media’s tech rolled out commercially, the situation would be rather different.

      However this line of argument applies, very specifically, to *State funded* kit.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      OK. It appears there is provision for regulated access to the BDUK infrastructure to alternative operators under state aid rules as I suspected (although I think the devil is still in the detail).

      As for PIA, Warwicknet were certainly planning to use it in early 2015 as part of their network expansion. However, as a product, it’s never going to be as straightforward to exploit as MPF (or any proposed “dark fibre” product) as any user is going to be faced with many of the sort of issues the FTTC roll-out gets hit with, like full/blocked ducts, the carrying capacity of poles and so on, potential roadworks and so on. There’s also an on-going maintenance issue to deal with. A field force is required, whether directly employed, or sub-contracted.

      Thus the deployment costs are going to be uncertain for any given requirement. In contrast, MPF and this “dark fibre” product are predictable, with lower risk, as they would use infrastructure already in the ground.

    • @Fibre Fred – Your right significant re-use which is another reason for the cheapness. Based on the numbers – ‘new’ fibre per cab looks like 1 to 1.5 kilometers per cab but I assuming your planning in groups 6/7, with fibres from exchange glassed through to 1 of 6 nominated handover points per county. Apart from H&I the rest should be there, but covered by the core cost allocations identified by NAO.

      Is this for SME’s, or are Ofcom thinking this is cheap way of getting the same impact as splitting out Openreach?

      And all fibre lengths will be less in the commercial areas and links between those exchanges will have had fibre. The £2.5bn claim is not sustainable and so the lack of investment will be as part of the justification and BT will have no counter arguement.

  3. Avatar Junipurrr

    Openreach EAD circuits (point to point fibre) are effectively dark fibres that are lit and managed by Openreach. In other words, take the Openreach NTE’s off both sides and you have a dark fibre strand. Currently you can’t simply plug the fibre into your own equipment and run the line at 10G (or more) but the proposed changes will hopefully allow this to happen 🙂

  4. Avatar dave

    This is GREAT news!!! Now lets force network rail to open their dark fibre too!

    • Avatar X66yh

      All that will happen is that the owners of the various dark fibres in the UK will re-declare them as essential backups ready and in place for future failures elsewhere in the network or ready for future anticipated capacity growth.
      As such not available then:

  5. Avatar RailRetired

    None of Network Rails dark fibre was ever funded by the government or the tax payer. Unless you think in the days it was state owned (IE pre-1990) they had miles of fibre cabling laying about but still choose not to use it and instead have a man pull a lever to operate signals, along with overhead copper lines for their internal telecoms oh and no CCTV at open level crossings.
    Even if you go as far back as 1947 when the transport act was introduced all the assets at that time were private company investments. Oh and i doubt back then they had miles of fibre going spare either.

    Its the exact opposite to BT where 90% of their network to this day was originally government investment and most of the dark fibre has been laying idle doing nothing for years (again the opposite to the railways).

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      “Its the exact opposite to BT where 90% of their network to this day was originally government investment and most of the dark fibre has been laying idle doing nothing for years (again the opposite to the railways).”

      So you really think that 90% of fibre was installed either before 1984 or from BDUK funding? Seriously? In 1984, virtually the only use of fibre was for some trunk voice traffic and a few other uses. Indeed, much traffic was carried by microwave (hence BT tower, it’s equivalent in Birmingham and so on). The amount of fibre investment was small and there was pretty well none into the all but the trunk exchanges. Your 90% figure is about as wrong as can be. The vast majority of fibre has been installed since privatisation.

      In any event, the network was sold to investors in 1984 (and the subsequent two tranches of share sales). Those investors paid for the assets, they weren’t given to them. They took the risk of buying those shares and the government got the money. That’s what happens when you sell something…

    • Avatar RailRetired

      BT must be lying again then…
      http://www.btplc.com/Innovation/Innovationnews/historyoffibre/index.htm
      They claim they were using it for calls from 1977 and more in the 1980s. So no i do not think im going by what BT claims, though where you got the idea i in anyway claimed they installed 90% of it before 1984 is anyone’s guess, suggest you reread what i stated there. Residential services have nothing to do with there prior fibre in the ground that has never been used.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      “Its the exact opposite to BT where 90% of their network to this day was originally government investment ”

      That is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time 🙂

    • Avatar Kyle

      I wonder where all this 80’s fibre they apparently invented along with their invention to blow it through ducts is now?

    • Avatar RailRetired

      One end probably laying unlit in some “BT exchange” somewhere which obviously a certain someone will probably also think was their “own investment”.

      Come to think of it with regards to FTTC doesn’t that service still run over what was originally the bulk of government investment (IE last mile copper, the phone poles, the exchanges, the old cabinets and so on and on).

      BT INVESTMENT, no doubt another company mouthpiece that can not think first.

    • Avatar Kyle

      Its ok BT invest but even if they had all the money in the world we will never get proper fibre rolled out everywhere even bringing in bus loads Eastern Europeans to do it.
      NOW that is the funniest thing i have ever heard.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @RR – in 1977 it was live calls for testing. At that time waveguides were being developed for high capacity links. Their development was stopped in about 1983 as it became feasible to use optical fibres.

      Again – the government sold all the BT assets to BTplc.

    • Avatar PortyNews

      “Its ok BT invest but even if they had all the money in the world we will never get proper fibre rolled out everywhere even bringing in bus loads Eastern Europeans to do it.”

      I am no fan of BT but i doubt any such claim has been made and why would they need lots of outside help?

    • Avatar PortyNews

      I saw who it was and suddenly was not shocked.

  6. Avatar Steve Jones

    @RailRetired

    Are you deliberately misunderstanding what I said. For reference, it was this “In 1984, virtually the only use of fibre was for some trunk voice traffic and a few other uses.” In other words, the amount of fibre in the ground was relatively limited by 1984, and it was largely for trunk exchanges. That’s entirely consistent with the page that refers to tests on voice in 1977 and the roll-out gathering pace during the early 1980s. The first optical link did not go into operation until 1980. Many major trunk links did not go live for some years (for example, Birmingham-London in 1982. The fibre link to the Isle of Wight in 1985. Privatisation was in 1984, are are you still maintaining that 90% of the investment was prior to that?

    You need something of an update. The position was that in 1984, the great majority of local exchanges were based on Strowger switches, a technology patented in the Victorian era. Outside those core sites, there was very little fibre in the ground.

    I suggest acquainting yourself with the actual history, and not your imagined version of it.

    http://www.britishtelephones.com/histuk.htm

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      I forgot to add, that you didn’t even deal with the point that the government sold those assets to private investors. You can’t sell them and then claim they are somehow still public property without dure regard to those who paid for them

    • Avatar TheManStan

      Government proceeds from the privatisation works out to be something like £30BN in new money, just voice and business data back then.

      Fairly certain 70s fibre with its 20db/km loss is fairly useless… modern stuff is ~0.35 db/km, so 1km = 57km of new stuff. Not future proof…

    • Avatar FibreFred

      @Steve Jones

      “Are you deliberately misunderstanding what I said.”

      He is… its the same old troll under an amazing guise.

    • Avatar PortyNews

      Interesting link it appears BT have been tinkering with fibre since the 70’s

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Yes, and wanted to install it into every home.

    • Avatar DTMark

      ^ Do give over.

      Pensioners to think of.

    • Avatar Weeeeee

      No he is technically right BT did want to do fibre, when they were government owned and it did not involve BT spending their own money but the tax payers… There is a pattern there huh!
      Unfortunately since 1992 (that’s over 20 years) when the last of the government shares were sold off they have done basically bugger all to bring their envisioned FULL fibre they punted to the government in the early 80’s to the whole country.

      Then again the video linked to earlier a BT staffer says they couldn’t do it even if they wanted due to lack of funds and manpower. So who knows what dribble he is on about.

  7. Avatar TheFacts

    This is not about existing fibre, it’s a product consisting of fibre with no terminating equipment.

    • I might be wrong, but I do disagree. Although it is termed “dark fibre” and thus is taken by many to mean “currently unused fibre”, I very much doubt that this is what Ofcom has in mind. Much more likely, in my view, is that it would apply to currently used fibre – thus if a CP has an EAD100 circuit in use, they will be able to “migrate” it to a dark fibre link between the two ends and then put their own, for example, 10Gbps equipment on the ends of the fibre.

      Also, I suspect that even where there is currently no fibre, Openreach would have an obligation to install the fibre (subject to the current, or similar, Excess Construction Charges, and then charge it out to the CP as “dark fibre”).

      I also suspect that Ofcom will allow the charges to be base on the assumption that it is a “business” product and not a “residential” one. Thus the monthly pricing will be more in line with EAD pricing tnan with LLU pricing.

      To be successful, Ofcom will need to address the issue of the “main link” in current EAD circuits and to make sure that there is a “dark” equivalent of this available to CPs.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      Read the document.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      I suppose the truth is that we don’t yet know the full proposal as it will be subject to consultation, then it would make some sense. In effect, it would be an optical fibre equivalent to MPF albeit using a different charging algorithm and more use of excess construction charges. Something of an earthquake with the potential for major damage to OR revenues.

      It will be particularly onerous if it gets subject to Ofcom’s practice of imposing margin squeeze tests (rather than predatory pricing) which would automatically allow competitors to undercut OR pricing. It’s a business model followed by many BT competitors.

    • @ TheFacts – which bid of the document makes you think I am wrong and that it would only apply to fibres that are in the ground already but not currently used? Only asking as I have not had the chance to go through it yet apart from a very quick glance at the exec summary.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      A random collection of unused fibres do not make a usable product.

    • I do apologise! I had mis-read your original post – you are in fact agreeing with what I said and not disagreeing, if I understand you correctly (or rather vice versa!). Friday had been a long day for me! 🙂

    • Avatar GNewton

      @wirelesspacman: “This is not about existing fibre, it’s a product consisting of fibre with no terminating equipment.”

      It’s kind of a confusing statement here by the TheFacts, because dark fibre IS existing fibre. And as already pointed out here, in most cases there will already be some sort of terminating equipment, though unused by any CP products, hence dark fibre.

    • Avatar DTMark

      All of this aside, if you were BT wouldn’t you just connect up the unused bits and load balance across them, so there is no unlit fibre to be repurposed as it’s all in use?

    • Avatar FibreFred

      ^ Eh?

  8. Avatar TheFacts

    READ THE DOCUMENT. It’s not about renting spare bits of fibre, it’s about providing a circuit between 2 customer premises.

    Clear lack of knowledge with some here…

  9. Avatar MikeW

    Having read more of the Ofcom document, my interpretation is that Ofcom uses the term “dark fibre” to mean only that the fibre is to be rented unlit, raw.

    I haven’t found a single indication that, in this context, they use “dark fibre” to mean fibre that already exists in the ground (or in the air). Nor any particular indication whether existing fibre starts out lit or unlit. Further, I find no indication that they are using any of this to force BT to make use of “NGA fibre” (ie spare spine fibre, laid as part of the NGA rollout) for provision of dark fibre circuits. Likewise there is no indication that Ofcom expects BDUK-funded infrastructure to be treated differently.

    Overall, it just looks to me like Ofcom are asking BT to make a new form of leased line product offering – where the fibre is provided unlit. Ofcom don’t seem to care *how* the underlying fibre comes into being.

    This has some consequences:
    – “Dark fibre” is still perceived as a bespoke order for a leased line
    – BT must be able to fulfill the order by providing bespoke fibre
    – BT cannot refuse the order on the grounds, for example, that “there is no spare NGA fibre”
    – Status of NGA fibre being earmarked as backup, spare, or for future capacity, doesn’t affect orders for “dark fibre”.

    Having said that, I also don’t see anything that would prevent BT from using the NGA access architecture (and already laid fibre) in provision of a circuit.

    It seems clear that the provision of dark fibre is for the purposes of providing a circuit to an end-user’s premises, rather than just a random segment out in the access network. However, I haven’t found an indication of whether the intention is that such fibre can run premise-premise, or whether it must run back to an Openreach handover point (ie a local exchange building).

    The document can also be noted for the number of times it asserts that the NGA rollout is barely affecting the leased line market; most businesses in the market for a leased line do not see the NGA products as part of the solution.

  10. Avatar dragoneast

    The intentions look good, and it could benefit both businesses and ultimately consumers. But, and its a big but, have Ofcom bit off more than they can chew, trying to simultaneously engineer a totally new product parallel to the existing range of commercial products and remedy OpenReach’s poor performance on existing business products at the same time? It smacks of a giant experiment. Only time will tell if it ends up blossoming or as a damp squib, or even gets overtaken by events as LLU did. Business can be notoriously risk adverse whilst complaining loudly, and the public sector as an innovator is increasingly broke.

    It all needs to happen. But too much, too quickly? That being said business services look like they’ve been the poor relation of regulation in the past, and Ofcom have ground to make up.

    • It’s a tough one here; 7.75 In particular, we consider that dark fibre products priced on this basis by reference to the EAD/EAD Local Access 1Gbit/s active products, with dark fibre variants of both EAD and EAD Local Access, and with the same charge structure in respect of circuit length as their corresponding active products, would optimise this balance between benefits and risk.

      So that sets a bound on the utility of the proposal.

      I am sure some will get this to work for them, but document (so far) fails to deal with the mis-selling of private cirucits to solve a Broadband or attentuation problem for SME’s. In Ofcoms eyes this can be dismissed as ‘not a business connectivity’ issue. NGA is not subsituting for private circuits they say, but a bigger issue must be the mis-selling of private circuits.

    • Avatar TheFacts

      @NGA – any mis-selling examples?

  11. Avatar Ken

    I see what BT is Trying to say… Ok dark fibre is for EXPANSION yes.. But at the Moment Most FTTC cabs are Feed by one or two fibres that are Either 1Gbp or 10gb but thats not the Fibre “Fiber” speed its the EQUIPMENT speed. Each fibre can carry in Excess of 100Tb its basic theory is UNLIMITED but limited by EQUIPMENT. what i dont understand is that when Openreach put in Fibre cabs they have to put in a NGA Node or “Billet”. these cables can carry in access of 7BFT’s each having between 8 & 40fibres or more. so here is the big Question.. why are we wasting Fibre? its in the GROUND you have like 100-400 Strands Unlit! why cant we just ask for a FTTP cab to be Set next to a FTTC cab? not hard hmm? or simply over-run PFSC “Fibre cable for PoP”, and just put more nodes up for Premises? a Node and fibre cable costs a hell of a lot less that FTTC! the cab alone to be operational can spiral to about £100K let alone the Power consumption!BT needs to think about there Future. we all know that Fibre is FAR better than Copper. Its the Option BT has they do not have Enough FIBRE Installers that’s the Main issues and that’s why it takes so damn long and expensive! Fibre is Cheaper to Deploy, Install, Operate, Band-wave “Speed Control”, its Immune to nearly everything and the INVESTMENT! You do not need engineers constantly Tinkering with it because once its there its DONE. unlike copper than can break or short or expand shrink etc. I am looking at Buy Fibre Leased of BT 1Gb or 10Gb… £25K a year!

  12. Avatar Lindsey

    What I want to know is why has the consultation been redacted? What exactly has been redacted from the consultation? And why?

    How can you submit to the consultation when you are not sure what exactly is missing from it or why?!

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Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Origin Broadband £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £23.00
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • SSE £23.00 (*33.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited (FUP)
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
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