UK aims to 'supercharge' broadband with BT regulation changes

UK aims to 'supercharge' broadband with BT regulation changes

LONDON: Britain's telecoms regulator said it would "supercharge" investment in fibre broadband networks with major proposals to change regulation of the national Openreach network owned by BT.

The new regime, which will span 2021-2026, will see different regulation for urban and rural areas, which Ofcom said would help ensure nobody gets left behind.

Broadband was centre stage in Britain's election last month when the opposition Labour Party said it would nationalise the Openreach network and provide free broadband for all.

Boris Johnson's Conservatives, which won, promised to roll out full-fibre to all homes by 2025, putting pressure on Ofcom and providers to close the gap with European rivals that have rolled out far more "gold standard" full-fibre networks.

Ofcom's interim CEO Jonathan Oxley said the new plans for regulation would help fuel a full-fibre future for the whole country.

"We're removing the remaining roadblocks to investment and supporting competition, so companies can build the networks that will drive the UK into the digital fast lane," he said on Wednesday.

Ofcom said it would also ease regulation on Openreach's ageing copper network in areas where full fibre is rolled out so BT does not have the cost of running two networks and to encourage customers to switch to faster services under the proposals.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Kate Holton)

Source: Reuters

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