BT responds to Ofcom "no regulatory barrier" commitment

BT has issued a response to IPTV News following the recent statement by the UK's communications watchdog Ofcom that it will present "no regulatory barrier" to investment in fibre networks by UK telcos.

Ian Livingston, Chief Executive of BT Group, said: "We are encouraged by the clarity that Ofcom's NGA [Next-Generation Access] policy framework brings to our investment case and current rollout plans. Today’s announcement gives us the green light to push ahead with our GB£ 1.5bn superfast broadband investment plans to reach at least 40% of UK households by 2012.

"UK consumers and businesses benefit hugely from the highly competitive broadband market in existence today, with some of the widest availability and lowest prices in the world. BT's open approach to the wholesaling of network services has been a critical enabler of this success. Unlike the approach adopted by many other countries, BT is committed to maintaining this wholesaling policy for superfast broadband and indeed urges all other investors, whether they invest in infrastructure or content, to adopt the same level of openness to ensure the UK maintains and strengthens its leading position in communications - otherwise customers will be short-changed."

"Today’s announcement from Ofcom has set expectations for the whole UK industry as the market evolves into a fibre-based world. This is an important step and will allow the market to develop the next generation of the UK's broadband infrastructure, which is so critical to the UK’s future as a knowledge-based economy. The stage is now set for a wide variety of players, of all different shapes and sizes, to do their bit in providing consumers with a choice for superfast and innovative services. Now it’s all about delivery."

Mr Livingston also indicated that BT Openreach has already signed up five communications providers who will be able to provide up to 30,000 residential customers in Whitchurch (South Glamorgan) and Muswell Hill (London) with fibre-based services in the "next few months", adding that BT will shortly be announcing the locations of the next 500,000 homes to be fibre-enabled, starting in January of next year.

BT is widely expected to spread its GB£ 1.5bn (US$ 2.13bn) investment across fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies, with the bulk of the funds expected to go towards FTTC.