BT demands access to Virgin cable ducts

BT is demanding that Virgin Media opens its network of underground ducts to rivals. The telco wants to use Virginís network as part of its plans to upgrade its infrastructure and will put pressure on Ofcom to allow it access.

BT intends to connect five million people to its superfast broadband network by spring next year. It is committed to opening its ducts to its competitors, and now wants open access to extent to Virgin.

A BT spokesman said: "It is remarkable that those calling for open access from BT are not willing to provide it themselves. We call on others to follow BTís lead in offering to open its infrastructure and content to all on a fair basis. Competition is a two-way street."

Neil Berkett, Virgin Mediaís chief executive, has dismissed as "a can of worms" the notion of the cable company opening its ducts to BT. The company has spent billions of pounds investing in its network and notes that Ofcom has said in the past that there is no mandate for Virgin to open its ducts.