BT being forced to set internet access charge

A House of Commons Select Committee has been told by Communications regulator Ed Richards that there will probably not be an acceptable price set for other operators to gain access BT’s network of underground ducts and telegraph poles.

Access is vital to the creation of this new high speed network in the rural areas and he said it will probably be a regulated market thus making it economically viable for others to compete against BT.

Digging up roads and laying out new cables has usually been the common thread associated with expensive high speed broadband installations. But this time around it may be different, new trials have been tested for re-using existing infrastructure such as drains and existing cable ducts and telegraph poles to layout the high speed network.

Conservative MP Damian Collins broached the subject during a Select Committee for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that is responsible for the broadband network in the UK. He questioned whether Ofcom had an opinion as to the prices that BT was proposing to charge for the access to poles and ducts.

There have been negotiations going on but it is doubtful an agreeable solution by both parties will be reached so some form of regulation will be needed by Ofcom. Access is regulated already in many areas to BT’s network so further regulation to the poles and ducts would not be surprising. But his comments are the first time he has indicated that he may have to intervene in the situation.