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Ofcom Propose Wholesale Broadband Deregulation

Posted: 15th Nov, 2007 By: MarkJ
Ofcom has today issued a new consultation on the wholesale broadband market, which proposes to remove "regulatory obligations in areas of the country where strong competition is now a reality":

The retail broadband market in the UK is already performing well, with healthy competition between a range of providers giving consumers choice. Broadband is available to 99.6% of UK households and more than 80% can choose between two or more wholesale providers. 65% of homes have the choice of 4 or more wholesale providers. In many areas consumers can choose between 8 providers.

Ofcom’s approach to supporting a competitive retail broadband market has two parts:-

  1. Local Loop Unbundling: to encourage competition between networks by giving all communications providers access to BT’s local exchanges on a fair and equivalent basis. There are now more than 3 million unbundled lines in the UK.


  2. Wholesale broadband: where local loop unbundling is not economically viable, to promote active competition in the supply of wholesale broadband services. Providers can buy these services to support their retail offering.
Today’s market review covers the second of these two markets.

Naturally areas where competition is still weak, such as in Hull where KCom remains the dominant operator, will still be protected. The same can also be said for BT in several smaller regions.

Ofcom's rules require KCOM and BT to open their networks for other providers on a fair and equivalent basis while providing a wholesale product on which retail services can be built.

Meanwhile 64.4% of UK premises exist in areas where there is plenty of choice and as a result Ofcom proposes to remove regulation currently imposed upon BT in this market. The consultation will be open until 7th February 2008.
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