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BT competitors to gain ‘dark fibre’ access?

Ofcom has published a consultation on the Business Connectivity Market Review (BCMR), which examines competition in the market for leased lines – high speed data links that support UK businesses, mobile and broadband providers.

Among the proposals are that companies providing leased lines should be granted access to BT’s networks through  so-called ‘dark fibre’ (unused fibre capacity). Ofcom is also proposing to place new, minimum quality of service performance requirements on Openreach in the leased lines market. There are also proposals for deregulation in some areas.  Ofcom is publishing a related consultation on very low bandwidth services, where it is proposing to remove requirements on BT.

Matthew Howett, Practice Leader, Regulation at Ovum, commented: “As well as satisfying the demands of large enterprise users, the announcement is also set to partially reassure UK mobile operators should BT successfully acquire EE later this year. Vodafone, for example, has been particularly vocal about the need for a dark fibre product to connect base stations and backhaul mobile traffic without fear of interference from BT. This is relevant since BT currently provides all UK mobile operators with high-speed mobile backhaul links.”

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