Hurrah! BT To Allow Rivals To Use Underground Network

BT's CEO, Ian Livingston, has confirmed that the telecommunications company will be working with telco watchdog, Ofcom, to open up its cable ducts to its competitors and partners.

Speaking to the Financial Times, he said that "We told Ofcom last year we're willing to provide open access to our ducts... and we are working with them on how to achieve it." although he failed to give any detailed plans on how this would be achieved.

BT is under pressure from both leading UK political parties to open up its infrastructure which it inherited when BT became a PLC back in 1984. Both Labour and the Tories have made promises regarding broadband as part of their electoral campaigns.

Labour said that, as part of the Universal Service Commitment (USC), the whole of Britain should have access to at least 2mbps broadband while the conservatives have pledged, via Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, for an ultrafast broadband service for the majority of the country (although majority is a pretty loose term).

We did say last week that there was really no need for the Tories to break up the BT monopoly, which was part of the plan, as the majority of the country would possibly have access to ADSL2+ speeds by 2017 anyway, with or without government intervention.

BT has already announced that it will be investing £1.5 billion to upgrade its national infrastructure and rolled out a 40mbps fibre-optic broadband service called Infinity which cost as little as £20 per month.

Our Comments

Some have resorted to slightly exotic means to deliver broadband services including going through the sewers like H2O Networks. Only Virgin Media has an extensive network, build from scratch and which at one point, threatened to bankrupt the company.

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BT has announced plans to open up its underground ducts