Business Connectivity Market Review

Rather than waiting for the outcome of its recently announced strategic review, or the merger decisions expected this year on BT/EE and O2/Hutchison, Ofcom is ploughing ahead with some radical proposals for dark fibre wholesale services. In this briefing note we provide an overview of Ofcom’s proposals.

26 May 2015

In its Business Connectivity Market Review consultation published on May 15, Ofcom proposes that BT should be required to allow competitors access to dark fibre terminating segments, including disaggregated access, backhaul segments and short range end-to-end segments. The proposals do, however, exclude the Central London Area where BT does not have SMP, but otherwise apply across the whole of the UK.

Pricing will be key, and Ofcom is addressing this by requiring that the pricing of dark fibre is on an "active minus" basis by reference to EAD/EAD Local Access 1 Gbit/s active products and the LRIC of its active elements. In other words, Ofcom’s proposal is not to set a fixed "minus" but to provide further detail on the active minus assessment and how it is calculated in its forthcoming leased line charge control consultation. Ofcom acknowledges that although this approach is flexible, it does carry some uncertainty, and our view is that it is likely to give rise to a series of disagreements and formal disputes about the way in which BT has or will calculate this element.

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