Ofcom asks BT to open up its broadband infrastructure to rivals

Ofcom asks BT to open up its broadband infrastructure to rivals

On Thursday, UK telecom industry regulator Ofcom asked broadband provider BT to give rivals greater access to its broadband network, so that high-speed broadband coverage across the country can be improved.

Specifically, Ofcom has ordered BT to open up its network infrastructure. Comprising telegraph poles and underground tunnels, to give rivals the ability to build their own broadband networks.

The order by Ofcom to BT comes at a time when BT rivals are persuasively trying to convince the telecoms regulator that, in the best interest of competition in the industry, BT should be asked to spin off its broadband infrastructure service. Rivals essentially want to see the BT Openreach 'local loop' network of connections to homes and offices separated from the remaining business of the BT group.

Against the backdrop of the suggestion put forth by the BT rivals, Ofcom has -- on the basis of a year-long industry review of the broadband provider -- come to the conclusion that, as of now, full separation of the BT Openreach network from the rest of the BT group is not necessary.

However, Ofcom has also warned that it reserves the right in the future "to require BT to spin off Openreach as an entirely separate legal entity, with its own shareholders."