As part of long-term plans to support investment in fibre networks, UK comms regulator Ofcom has set out initial views on how to define geographic markets from 2021, when carrying out the next review of wholesale telecoms networks.
By spring 2021, Ofcom plans to have regulation in place that varies by geographic area. To promote greater certainty for investors, this new regulation will be in place for at least five years. It will replace Ofcom’s Business Connectivity Market Review and its Wholesale Local Access Review.
In the coming years, Ofcom expects to see significant investment in new, competing fibre networks. But investment and competition will vary by geography. Ofcom accordingly intends to take a flexible approach to regulation, reflecting how many different competing fibre companies are present in a particular geographic area.
Ofcom’s initial thinking on how its competition assessments and regulation may vary by geography from 2021 are as follows:
Ofcom will gather data and deployment plans from operators to map existing and potential future networks. It proposes to use a number of criteria to determine areas of the UK where network rollout may be economically viable.
Ofcom intends to set out its initial approach to remedies in spring 2019; and by autumn 2019, it plans to consult on a full set of market proposals, including market definition, market power and remedies.