Ofcom kicks off final broadband consultation

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Ofcom kicks off final broadband consultation

UK communications provider Ofcom has announced what is set to be the last consultation before BT starts its multibillion-pound fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband rollout.

The consultation, Variation to BT’s Undertakings under the Enterprise Act 2002 related to Fibre-to-the-Cabinet, seeks to allow BT’s Openreach division “to control and operate electronic equipment necessary to provide super-fast broadband services using FTTC.”

The consultation should be the final stage in the process that will see BT start to introduce new fibre-optic networks that will support the next generation of high-speed home broadband services.

Ofcom said in the document that no third parties opposed in principle the proposition that Openreach should be able to control and operate the electronic equipment necessary to provide services using FTTC.

But the watchdog added that there were a number of concerns from communications providers (CPs) as to whether BT could supply sufficient connections, “to allow CPs to build their own FTTC-based network by deploying equipment in street cabinets”.

Quocirca principal communications analyst Rob Bamforth said there is concern that there will not be sufficient capacity to allow for variety in the competition.

"Some may require access to more inputs than others, and there may be several competing providers wanting to get into the same, possibly limited space,” he said.

“The overall physical interface is a key potential stumbling point for competition. Consultation around it needs to be on a level playing field and sufficiently early so that CPs are not at a disadvantage in working out their needs.”

Bamforth said that BT rightly says CPs lack practical FTTC experience and could address this in a statement of requirements to Openreach.
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