Ofcom boost for service upgrades
January 29, 2020
By Colin Mann
UK comms regulator Ofcom has made changes to its regulations that will help broadband companies upgrade customers to faster broadband more efficiently, and support digital infrastructure provider Openreach’s trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall.
Openreach’s trials in Salisbury and Mildenhall will test the processes for moving customers off older broadband and telephone services, as part of the company’s plans to upgrade its network. Lessons learnt from these trials will inform the approach to the future retirement of legacy services across the country.
Following consultation, Ofcom is helping encourage early participation in these trials, by allowing Openreach to offer discounts for certain broadband services in these areas. This will exempt the trials from existing rules that require Openreach to provide services at the same price everywhere in the UK.
Existing rules also require Openreach to install new broadband connections within a set timeframe.
Providers that use Openreach’s network want a more efficient and cost-effective way to upgrade their customers who are on slower copper broadband to higher-speed services. Accordingly, Openreach has worked with providers to develop a new process for upgrades to be made in bulk batches at a street cabinet, reducing the cost per customer.
Under this process, Openreach would wait for a sufficient volume of upgrades from a provider at a given cabinet before making those upgrades.
Given the potential benefits to broadband customers of using this new bulk upgrade process, Ofcom is exempting these types of orders from certain rules that require them to be completed within a set timeframe.