UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has opened a consultation about the business connectivity market. It’s looking at the ‘leased lines’ that are used to transfer large volumes of data by broadband providers, mobile network operators, businesses and public sector organisations. In many cases these wholesale connections are leased from BT.
Details of the official announcement are below.
Boosting business telecoms to meet growing demand for data
Ofcom today proposed measures to meet growing demand for fast data services from UK businesses, mobile operators, internet providers and consumers.
The Business Connectivity Market Review, published today, looks at the £2bn wholesale market for ‘leased lines’ used by businesses and by mobile and broadband operators to transfer data on their networks. Leased lines also provide vital high-speed links between schools, universities, libraries and other public bodies.
The review proposes to maintain and extend some existing regulation on BT, the major provider of wholesale services in this market. But Ofcom also proposes lighter regulation in the London area, where BT faces greater competition from other providers.
London benefits from a substantial, competitive fibre infrastructure, in a wider geographic area than previously found. This has allowed Ofcom to propose significantly extending the deregulated area for legacy high-speed networks westwards towards Heathrow.
The combined measures are designed to sustain competition and ensure the UK has a backbone of high speed business networks capable of supporting not only companies, but also consumer services that ultimately rely on these networks, such as superfast broadband and mobile video streaming.
For products with speeds up to and including 1Gbit/s, Ofcom is proposing broadly to maintain existing regulation, including charge controls and a requirement on BT to provide access on a strictly non-discriminatory basis.
Outside of London, Ofcom is proposing to regulate very high-bandwidth, wholesale leased line services above 1Gbit/s. BT is proposed to have ‘significant market power’ in this relatively new market, in all parts of the UK except London and Hull.