Sony Pixel Power calrec Sony

Supercharging investment in fibre broadband

08/01/2020

Supercharging investment in fibre broadband Add to Your Pages

08 January 2020

Ofcom sets out conditions to help bring full fibre nationwide

Improving the business case for fibre investment and protecting customers from high prices

Support for closing the UKs ageing copper network as new fibre is built

Homes and businesses up and down the country are set to benefit from much faster and more reliable fibre broadband, under major proposals set out today by Ofcom.

As demand for internet data accelerates, the UK's infrastructure needs to be upgraded. Full-fibre broadband connections can deliver much faster speeds than copper up to one gigabit per second. They are also up to five times more reliable, and less likely to slow down when lots of people use them at the same time.[1]

So today we are proposing new, flexible regulation that will help fuel a full-fibre future for the whole of the UK.

Having a choice of networks has delivered significant benefits to people, such as innovation, better services and competitive prices. In 2017, we set out a range of pro-investment measures that kickstarted full fibre rollout by a range of broadband companies. Since then, full fibre coverage has trebled.[2]

We are now building on that momentum with proposals that will transform the business case for fibre investment for towns, cities and villages alike. Next year, we plan to vary our regulation for different parts of the country, which combined with the Government's planned 5bn funding for rural areas will help ensure nobody gets left behind.

Today's proposals are part of our review of wholesale telecoms used for residential and business services in the UK. This maps out how Ofcom will regulate BT for the period from April 2021 to March 2026.

Driving competition and investmentOur focus on promoting broadband network competition has helped full fibre coverage increase at its fastest ever rate.

We have already made it cheaper, quicker and easier for BT's rivals to lay fibre cables by giving them better and cheaper access to Openreach's underground pipes and telegraph poles. Several firms are now using this to connect thousands of properties without having to dig up streets multiple times.[3]

We are now proposing to supercharge the strategy with a four-point plan to support competitive investment in fibre networks.[4]

1. Improving the business case for fibre investment. In more urban areas, where there is likely to be a choice of networks, we will set Openreach's wholesale prices in a way that encourages competition from new networks, as well as investment by Openreach by giving it the opportunity to make a fair return.

In these areas, we are proposing that the wholesale price Openreach charges retail providers for its entry-level (40 Mbit/s) superfast broadband service is capped to inflation. This follows a significant cut Ofcom made to this product in our 2018 review, and still provides for a margin on fibre investment, as build costs fall.

Full fibre is consistently faster, and much more reliable, than copper-based broadband. So we are proposing that Openreach can charge a small premium for regulated products if they are delivered over full fibre, to help the business case. Its fastest fibre services would remain free from pricing regulation, to support the investment race between network builders.[5]

2. Protecting customers and driving competition. We will ensure people can still access affordable broadband by capping Openreach's wholesale charges on its slower copper broadband services. To prevent Openreach from harming competition, it would be restricted from being able to offer discounts that could stifle investment by its rivals.

3. Taking rural areas into the fast lane. In more sparsely-populated rural areas, where there is no prospect of multiple networks being built, we plan to support investment by Openreach the only operator with a large-scale rural network.

We would allow Openreach to recover investment costs across the wholesale prices of a wider range of services, reducing the risk of its investment. If BT provides a firm commitment to build fibre in these parts of the country, we can include these costs in its prices upfront. If not, we would only allow it to recover these costs after it lays new fibre.

Public funding will also be vital in connecting rural areas. The UK Government is planning to invest 5bn to reach the most challenging 20% of the UK and we are working closely with Government on its plans for this.

4. Closing the copper network. We recognise that Openreach needs to retire its ageing copper wires so it does not have the unnecessary costs of running two parallel networks. We plan to remove regulation on Openreach's copper products in areas where full fibre is built. This will support Openreach in switching customers over to the new fibre network.

We will also protect customers during this transition, by transferring our regulation including price protections from copper to new fibre services.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom Interim Chief Executive, said: These plans will help fuel a full-fibre future for the whole country. We're removing the remaining roadblocks to investment and supporting competition, so companies can build the networks that will drive the UK into the digital fast lane.

Full-fibre broadband is much faster and more reliable. It's vital that people and businesses everywhere whether in rural areas, smaller towns or cities can enjoy these benefits. So we're making sure companies have the right incentives to accelerate full fibre to every part of the UK.

Supporting 5G and businessWe have also today set out how we intend to regulate Openreach's leased lines' high-speed connections used by large organisations, which also form the data highways of the UK's mobile and
LINK: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__search/s/redirect?collection=web&url=https:...
See more stories from ofcom

More from OFCOM

17/12/2020

Gigabit broadband reaches four in ten Scottish homes

Gigabit broadband reaches four in ten Scottish homes Add to Your Pages 17 December 2020 New Ofcom figures reveal broadband and mobile coverage across Sc...

17/12/2020

Gigabit broadband reaches one in four homes

Gigabit broadband reaches one in four homes Add to Your Pages 17 December 2020 New figures reveal broadband and mobile coverage across the UK 8m homes ...

15/12/2020

Maggie Carver appointed Ofcom interim Chair from January

Maggie Carver appointed Ofcom interim Chair from January Add to Your Pages 15 December 2020 The Government has appointed Maggie Carver as Ofcom's in...

12/12/2020

BT fined for breaking Ofcom rules in Northern Ireland tender

BT fined for breaking Ofcom rules in Northern Ireland tender Add to Your Pages 11 December 2020 BT failed to meet regulatory obligations during procurem...

09/12/2020

Traditional UK broadcasting at risk without radical shakeup, Ofcom warns

Traditional UK broadcasting at risk without radical shakeup, Ofcom warns Add to Your Pages 08 December 2020 New laws and rules needed for public service...

26/11/2020

Delivering postal users' needs in a digital age

Delivering postal users' needs in a digital age Add to Your Pages 26 November 2020 Royal Mail needs to become more efficient and modernise its parce...

25/11/2020

Broadcasters must look beyond London and reach the whole UK

Broadcasters must look beyond London and reach the whole UK Add to Your Pages 25 November 2020 Ofcom calls on industry to reflect wider range of geograp...

25/11/2020

Ofcom appoints six new Content Board members

Ofcom appoints six new Content Board members Add to Your Pages 24 November 2020 Ofcom has appointed six new members to its Content Board. Ofcoms Conte...

07/11/2020

Vulnerable customers must be treated fairly

Vulnerable customers must be treated fairly Add to Your Pages 23 July 2020 Ofcom sets out how phone, broadband and pay-TV companies should treat those w...

28/10/2020

Mobile firms to be banned from selling locked' handsets

Mobile firms to be banned from selling locked' handsets Add to Your Pages 27 October 2020 New rules to help customers put off from switching becaus...

16/10/2020

Reappointment of Mairi Kidd to MG ALBA board

Reappointment of Mairi Kidd to MG ALBA board Add to Your Pages 30 April 2020 Ofcom has today announced the reappointment of Mairi Kidd to the board of M...

16/10/2020

Ofcom awards six new community radio licences (May 2020)

Ofcom awards six new community radio licences (May 2020) Add to Your Pages 12 May 2020 Ofcom has today announced the award of six new community radio li...

16/10/2020

Broadband networks stand firm during pandemic

Broadband networks stand firm during pandemic Add to Your Pages 13 May 2020 Ofcom analysis shows UK broadband speeds have withstood a surge in demand du...

16/10/2020

Jonathan Oxley to step down

Jonathan Oxley to step down Add to Your Pages 13 May 2020 Ofcom has today announced that Jonathan Oxley, Group Director for Competition and Board member...

16/10/2020

Ofcom appoints Alison Marsden as Director of Content Standards, Licensing and Enforcement

Ofcom appoints Alison Marsden as Director of Content Standards, Licensing and En...

16/10/2020

New Board appointment for Channel 4

New Board appointment for Channel 4 Add to Your Pages 29 May 2020 Ofcom has today announced the appointment of a new non-executive director to the Board...

16/10/2020

Ofcom's General Counsel Polly Weitzman to move on

Ofcoms General Counsel Polly Weitzman to move on Add to Your Pages 01 June 2020 Ofcom has today announced that Polly Weitzman, Ofcom's General Couns...

16/10/2020

UK's internet use surges to record levels

UK's internet use surges to record levels Add to Your Pages 24 June 2020 Adults spending record 4 hours a day online on average, as coronavirus chan...

16/10/2020

Royal Mail fined 1.5m for missing 2018/19 delivery target

Royal Mail fined 1.5m for missing 2018/19 delivery target Add to Your Pages 10 July 2020 91.5% of first-class post was delivered next working day in 20...

16/10/2020

Ofcom awards three new community radio licences in Northampton

Ofcom awards three new community radio licences in Northampton Add to Your Pages 22 July 2020 Ofcom has today announced the award of three new community...

16/10/2020

Broadband customers to save millions following Ofcom review

Broadband customers to save millions following Ofcom review Add to Your Pages 28 July 2020 Out-of-contract customers could save over 270m a year in tot...

16/10/2020

Ofcom confirms plans for spectrum auction early next year

Ofcom confirms plans for spectrum auction early next year Add to Your Pages 03 August 2020 January auction for important airwaves to boost mobile capaci...

16/10/2020

UK talks for longer during lockdown

UK talks for longer during lockdown Add to Your Pages 08 October 2020 Callers spent around 50% longer on their mobiles during early stages of the corona...

08/04/2020

Ofcom sets out licensing plans for small-scale DAB

Ofcom sets out licensing plans for small-scale DAB Add to Your Pages 07 April 2020 Local radio listeners will be able to tune into new digital stations ...

03/04/2020

Changing attitudes of viewers and listeners revealed

Changing attitudes of viewers and listeners revealed Add to Your Pages 03 April 2020 TV and radio programmes that are unsuitable for children, or which ...

25/03/2020

Helping broadband and mobile users stay connected

Helping broadband and mobile users stay connected Add to Your Pages 25 March 2020 As families work and learn at home, Ofcom launches practical tips to g...

25/03/2020

Ofcom awards six new community radio licences (March 2020)

Ofcom awards six new community radio licences (March 2020) Add to Your Pages 25 March 2020 Ofcom has today announced the award of six new community radi...

13/03/2020

Ofcom finalises rules for mobile airwaves auction

Ofcom finalises rules for mobile airwaves auction Add to Your Pages 13 March 2020 New airwaves will boost mobile capacity and enhance 5G services Airwa...

10/03/2020

Ofcom welcomes shared rural network' agreement to improve mobile coverage

Ofcom welcomes shared rural network' agreement to improve mobile coverage Add to Your Pages 09 March 2020 The Government has announced it has reach...

03/03/2020

Ofcom awards four new community radio licences (February 2020)

Ofcom awards four new community radio licences (February 2020) Add to Your Pages 03 March 2020 Ofcom has today announced the award of three new communit...

15/02/2020

Companies must tell customers about their best deals

Companies must tell customers about their best deals Add to Your Pages 14 February 2020 Providers must now tell you when your contract's up, and wha...

12/02/2020

Ofcom Board appoints Dame Melanie Dawes as Chief Executive

Ofcom Board appoints Dame Melanie Dawes as Chief Executive Add to Your Pages 12 February 2020 The Ofcom Board has today announced the appointment of Dam...

12/02/2020

Ofcom response to Government announcement on online harms regulation

Ofcom response to Government announcement on online harms regulation Add to Your Pages 12 February 2020 Jonathan Oxley, interim Chief Executive: We sha...

04/02/2020

Parents' rising concern over children online (Wales)

Parents rising concern over children online (Wales) Add to Your Pages 04 February 2020 Gaming and self-harm among biggest concerns Half of older childr...

04/02/2020

Parents' rising concern over children online

Parents' rising concern over children online Add to Your Pages 04 February 2020 Gaming and self-harm among biggest concerns Half of older children ...

30/01/2020

Ofcom awards four new community radio licences (January 2020)

Ofcom awards four new community radio licences (January 2020) Add to Your Pages 30 January 2020 Ofcom has today announced the award of four new communit...

21/01/2020

Ofcom response to the CMA's super-complaint update

Ofcom response to the CMA's super-complaint update Add to Your Pages 21 January 2020 Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: We...

09/01/2020

Helping customers get fair treatment and fair prices

Helping customers get fair treatment and fair prices Add to Your Pages 09 January 2020 New scorecards help customers compare phone and broadband firms ...

08/01/2020

Supercharging investment in fibre broadband

Supercharging investment in fibre broadband Add to Your Pages 08 January 2020 Ofcom sets out conditions to help bring full fibre nationwide Improving t...

20/12/2019

Latest Scottish broadband and mobile coverage revealed

Latest Scottish broadband and mobile coverage revealed Add to Your Pages 20 December 2019 Number of homes with access to superfast broadband increased b...

20/12/2019

Latest UK broadband and mobile coverage revealed

Latest UK broadband and mobile coverage revealed Add to Your Pages 20 December 2019 Full-fibre broadband now available to around three million homes So...

18/12/2019

Celebrity Big Brother tops TV complaints for the decade

Celebrity Big Brother tops TV complaints for the decade Add to Your Pages 18 December 2019 Ofcom publishes most complained-about shows of the 2010s An ...

17/12/2019

Ofcom plans ban on mobile firms selling 'locked' phones

Ofcom plans ban on mobile firms selling locked phones Add to Your Pages 17 December 2019 New rules also proposed to make broadband switching easier Mob...

21/11/2019

Ofcom's Mansoor Hanif to step down

Ofcoms Mansoor Hanif to step down Add to Your Pages 21 November 2019 Ofcom has today announced that Mansoor Hanif has stepped down from his role as Chie...

07/11/2019

Ofcom appoints Jonathan Oxley as interim Chief Executive

Ofcom appoints Jonathan Oxley as interim Chief Executive Add to Your Pages 06 November 2019 The Ofcom Board has today announced that Jonathan Oxley will...

29/10/2019

Releasing airwaves for mobile services next year

Releasing airwaves for mobile services next year Add to Your Pages 28 October 2019 Ofcom updates on proposals to auction new frequencies Airwaves wil...

25/10/2019

Ofcom welcomes mobile firms' agreement to build a shared rural network'

Ofcom welcomes mobile firms' agreement to build a shared rural network' Add to Your Pages 25 October 2019 Ofcom spokesperson: We warmly welc...

24/10/2019

BBC risking 'lost generation' as younger audience tunes out

BBC risking lost generation as younger audience tunes out Add to Your Pages 24 October 2019 Reach of BBC TV among 16-24 year-olds drops below 50% for ...

14/10/2019

Telecoms and pay-TV complaints from October to December 2017

Telecoms and pay-TV complaints from October to December 2017 Add to Your Pages 14 October 2019 TalkTalk most complained-about home broadband and landl...

12/10/2019

Fairer prices for broadband customers

Fairer prices for broadband customers Add to Your Pages 11 October 2019 New measures to protect vulnerable customers from high prices and ensure they ...