Ofcom wants BT to lower the price of access to broadband services from its Openreach division to help other internet service providers (ISPs) pass on savings to customers.
The consultation document proposes reducing the price of local loop unbundling access, where ISPs install their own equipment in Openreach exchanges, and wholesale line rental (WLR) access where ISPs rent lines from Openreach.
Ofcom wants to see full unbundled access reduced by 1.2 to 4.2 per cent, based on the Retail Price Index, from the current £89.10 per year.
For WLR access, which currently costs £103.68 per year, Ofcom wants to see reductions of between 3.1 and 6.1 per cent.
The use of Openreach services has grown massively in recent years. Unbundled lines have risen from 123,000 in September 2005 to 7.59 million today, and there are now 6.14 million WLR connections as the demand for broadband has rocketed.
Ofcom aims to publish a statement in the autumn on its final position, having gathered feedback from the consultation which can be viewed on its web site.
BT said that Ofcom's suggestions are workable, but that it will engage in the consultation process to point out a number of issues with the way Ofcom has reached its figures.
"It is critical that BT is able to achieve a fair rate of return in order to continue its investment in copper and fibre services," the company said.
"Upon initial review, we are encouraged by Ofcom's recognition of this fact, but would question some of the underlying assumptions being used. As a result, we will be raising such concerns with Ofcom during the consultation process."
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