Ovum Labels Ofcom Super Fast Framework as ‘Pragmatic’

Reacting to Ofcom’s decisions designed to promote competition and investment in super-fast broadband services across the UK, Ovum lead analyst Matthew Howett says the framework is pragmatic.

“Ofcom’s final regulatory statement for next-generation access networks in the UK is both pragmatic and predictable. It is a well designed framework which takes into account the network infrastructure being deployed by BT across the UK and should allow sufficient scope for alternative operators looking to invest to gain access to BT’s network.

“Following the creation of Openreach and the subsequent healthy competition in the UK broadband market; BT will be free to set prices for the VULA product but these are likely to be constrained by Virgin Media’s presence in the market.

“Where BT hasn’t deployed a network, alternative operators will be able to rent BT’s ducts and poles and in doing so enable them to deploy their own FTTH or FTTC networks.

“Promisingly Ofcom has recognized the importance of having a well designed access product that takes into account the alternative operator’s needs and so is facilitating further cross-industry discussion on the VULA product set. The regulator is also set to review whether there is scope for extending infrastructure access to other networks under powers it will gain next year following a review of the EU regulatory framework. This could give access seekers an even greater opportunity to deploy their own networks; particularly where BT’s duct network is patchy or unsuitable.”

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