Ofcom forces BT to share its broadband lines

Communications regulator Ofcom wants to accelerate the rate at which ‘super quick’ broadband is introduced to the UK by demanding that BT allows its rivals to utilize its fibre network along with telegraph poles and underground ducts.

Ofcom announced this week a set of proposals that would let BT’s competition access the fibre optic network cables which should cover the broadband needs of about 40% of all Britons by 2012.

Most of the existing network is made up by copper wire, but fibre optic offers much faster broadband speeds.  Although Ofcom wants the lines to be rented out, it will not interfere with the prices that BT sets for network access.

BT replied to the announcement by stating that they already allow some access to their fibre optic lines but that the Ofcom announcement did help add some clarity and certainty to what the new regulations will be.

The company also stated that it is willing to allow other companies to use its underground ducts so this addition will not be a problem.  It is likely that duct access will become the best way to spread fibre optic broadband to countryside areas.

Even though BT is being asked to open its fibre optic network up, Ofcom has not yet called for Virgin Media to follow suit because according to a spokesman for Ofcom they are only concerned with companies that are major players in the market, which Virgin is not considered to be.