Telecoms regulator Ofcom has unveiled a raft of new measures to drive further investment in full-fibre broadband networks and to speed up deployments.
After submitting a draft proposal to the European Commission on February 23rd and receiving no outstanding comments, Ofcom has now said it will begin to implement these new measures - which were first seen last year.
The first is that it wants BT to give rival providers access to its telegraph poles and underground tunnels, which will make it "quicker and easier for them to build their own full-fibre networks directly to households around the UK".
Secondly, Ofcom has chosen not to create new regulations for the prices of Openreach's wholesale superfast broadband products and full-fibre services. It claims that this decision "supports incentives for operators to build full-fibre networks".
Thirdly, the regulator is developing rules to ensure that people and companies across the UK have access to superfast broadband.
It will do this by "cutting the wholesale price that Openreach can charge telecoms companies for its entry-level superfast broadband service".
This particular ruling will affect download speeds of up to 40 Mbit/s and an upload speeds of 10 Mbit/s. Ofcom has also adjusted the cost of ‘40/10 Mbit/s broadband packages to £12.06 monthly.
It will develop "stricter requirements on Openreach to repair faults and install new broadband lines more quickly" as well.
Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at uSwitch.com, praised these rules. He said: "We welcome the measures confirmed by Ofcom designed to increase investment in ‘full-fibre' broadband networks, and drive improvements in the quality of Openreach's service, the backbone of many of the UK's broadband services.
"The decision to reduce the wholesale price for entry-level fibre broadband is especially welcome, helping to ensuring cost is a not a barrier to consumer uptake of superfast services.
"Now it's up to the industry to drive awareness of the availability and benefits of fibre, cut the cost of upgrading and improve more consumer's broadband experience."
Neudegg said regulators must continue to think of consumers: "We cannot simply rely on a ‘build it and they will come' mentality.
"Too many households are still lagging behind on poorly-suited services and risk being left behind - it's time to ensure consumers are brought along on this journey to a full fibre Britain," he added.
"We believe it's time the industry gave the facts - being open and upfront with the information that matters, removed the needless hoops that consumers are made to jump through and worked to ensure the road to faster, more reliable connectivity is a journey for all.
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