Ofcom Plans to Make BT's Openreach Network Available to Rivals

By Razak Musah Baba Features Dow Jones Newswires

The U.K.'s telecoms regulator set out plans Thursday to make BT PLC's (BT.A.LN) Openreach infrastructure network available to competitors, enabling them to build fiber broadband networks more cheaply.

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The Office of Communications, commonly know as Ofcom, said the plan would make it easier for competitors to access BT's existing telegraph poles, ducts and underground tunnels that carry telecoms cables.

Ofcom is proposing that other telecom providers should be able to lay fiber using BT's ducts and poles as easily as BT itself. It said the cost to BT for providing this access should be spread across all users.

The regulator is also calling for Openreach to repair faulty infrastructure and clear blocked tunnels where necessary for access.

Ofcom said it expected to publish its final decisions in early 2018, with new rules taking effect on April 1 next year.

-Write to Razak Musah Baba at razak.baba@wsj.com; Twitter: @Raztweet

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 05:55 ET (09:55 GMT)