BT to open up network to rivals, and cut prices
The regulator says that BT have to give better services for the dedicated high-speed data lines which are need by businesses and schools, as well as big housing developments.
Now, Ofcom is going to slap BT with some rather strict rules regarding the improvement of BT’s performance when it comes to installing and fixing high-speed business lines on behalf of their rivals. The regulator thinks that this is going to open up competition, and will add £2bn to the broadband market.
Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom competition group director, said: "All of us depend on high-speed, fibre optic lines. Businesses use them to communicate, and they also underpin the broadband and mobile services used by consumers at home and on the move."
"BT is relied on by many companies to install these lines and its performance has not been acceptable. These new rules will mean companies across the UK benefit from faster installation times, greater certainty about installation dates and fast repairs if things go wrong."
Good news for companies like Sky, TalkTalk, and the rest, who will now be paying less to use the BT network at their wholesale rates. With any luck (but don't hold your breath), these savings could be passed on to customers too!
In addition to all this, BT's rivals will also be able to use the 'dark fibre', which basically means the lines which BT don't manage. Rivals can use their own equipment too, instead of having to always go through BT's hoops when setting up a connection. With any luck, this means quicker activation times, and better repairs.
Ofcom say that, since 2011, the average time between a customer ordering a service, to it being delivered, has increased from 40 to 48 working days. This is not good enough, and Ofcom want to see a reduction on that. They have also said that Openreach has to fix at least 94% of faults on their leased line network within five hours.
Cheaper, faster, more reliable broadband? We must be dreaming!