YouView’s Dunstone: BT fibre cost should be capped

The UK government should help open up access to the national fibre network being rolled out by BT, says Sir Charles Dunstone, chairman of telecoms group TalkTalk and YouView.

Dunstone told the FT that Ofcom needs to regulate the cost of wholesale access to BT’s fibre network, which he said would mean lower prices for rivals such as TalkTalk. BT is not required to offer rivals a regulated price for its high speed fibre network in the same way as more traditional copper lines, the telco says it must recoup its investment.

“We need to regulate fibre – and to check where the [state] money is going,” Sir Charles said. “There is so much government money going into subsidising higher broadband speeds but no one really knows where it is going and how it is being spent.”

Ofcom is conducting a review of the wholesale access market for broadband that will consider the regulatory framework.

BT said: “BT is the pro-competitive solution as all communications providers can access BT’s fibre network on equal terms, something that is unique in the world. Regulation could stall progress by driving up the price of wholesale access.”

Dubstone said that TalkTalk would remain a provider of content to its customers using the YouView platform, rather than become an owner of its own programmes. He said that competing for rights with technology groups such as Netflix and Lovefilm for example was very difficult.

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