Virgin Media looks set to take advantage of BT's network infrastructure to help bring superfast broadband to remote areas of the UK that cannot be served through traditional fibre deployments.
The firm's announcement comes on the back of the decision by Ofcom on Thursday to force BT to open up its telegraph poles and underground ducts to other ISPs to help drive broadband deployment.
"This is an important step that rightly focuses on opening up areas of the country not already served by superfast broadband, removing one of the hurdles that make such developments near impossible at present," a Virgin Media spokesperson said.
"However, we now need to ensure the price demanded for access to poles and ducts does not limit the ambitions of getting next-generation connectivity to those people living outside our towns and cities."
BT is expected to announce the pricing of access to its infrastructure by mid-January and clearly Virgin is already applying the pressure on its chief rival over how it prices this access.
Virgin Media has already trialled the use of telegraph poles before, first in the village of Woolhampton where it has used its own infrastructure, and then in Cromlin, South Wales, using infrastructure owned by Western Power Distribution.
These trials have resulted in speeds of 50Mbit/s and the company has said it expects it could reach some one million more homes through the use of aerial deployments.
However, there are some issues Virgin Media has cited as needing to be simplified to really make this a reality, including a more transparent way to calculate the cost of wayleave payments to landowners. This is a payment made to the owner of land across which a wire runs between telegraph poles.
Given the level of deployment aerial access could offer, payment structures are clearly something that will need addressing to help operators plan their deployments.
Virgin also said the Electronic Communications Code, which sets out the powers given to electronic communication networks providers to enable them to install and maintain network apparatus, needs amending.
Specifically it said that section four of the code, on the installation of underground lines, needs clarifying over what is and is not allowed to help the firm move forward with any plans to use telegraph poles for fibre infrastructure deployments in the future.
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