Ofcom: Broadband investment will be rewarded

UK media regulator Ofcom has called on fixed line operators like BT and Virgin Media to offer much faster broadband speeds and has promised to let them make a return if they make the necessary heavy investments.

With the UK under pressure to offer faster download speeds to remain competitive, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards told a trade conference that industry leaders should accelerate the roll-out of super-fast broadband across the UK. "Ofcom favours a regulatory environment for the next generation of networks and access that both allows and encourages operators to make risky investments, to innovate for the benefit of consumers and, if the risks pay off, for the benefit of their shareholders too," said Richards. "We are very clear that if operators are going to make investments in new infrastructure, investment that is inherently more risky than developing the existing infrastructure, then they need to know that the regulatory framework will allow them to make and keep a rate of return that is commensurate with the risks they are taking."

His comments were welcomed by BT. "We welcome Ofcom's comments and commitment to removing the barriers to making a return from next generation broadband," said BT chief executive Ian Livingston.