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BT plan to share it cable ducts with rivals
Monday 08 February 2010 10:46:44 by John Hunt

BT are investigating ways which would allow it to share cabling ducts with rival companies according to a report in the FT. This would allow other network operators to cheaply build networks without having to dig up the roads, which is both costly and disruptive, and could allow other operators to deploy their own fibre-to-the-home solutions, expanding to areas which BT deem unviable.

The announcement follows news last month from the Conservative party who pledged to force BT to open up its ducts for sharing, although BT have been in talks since last year with Ofcom about this.

"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 it's unlikely to be the silver bullet to get fibre to every home, open access to all ducts, not just ours, might help BT and others extend coverage and so we would like to see a future government support such a move."

Ian Livingston, (CEO) BT

Duct sharing would open up interesting opportunities for other network operators. Virgin Media have done little to expand their broadband network since it was originally built and conglomerated, and with access to new ducting, they could expand to further parts of the country at a much lower cost than the original cost of having to dig. Of course, whilst BT may be willing to share ducts, there may be problems in some areas where cabling ducts are already full, and therefore sharing is not possible.

Other large operators are keen to get their own high-speed broadband services live. Duct sharing could give them the opportunity to do this, and could also add extra competition at a wholesale level. BT currently have a huge market hold due to their coverage of the country, but with other operators able to expand to a similar area, it could boost competition in rural areas. There could also be opportunities other than duct sharing. Virgin have a network that covers around 57% of homes, and a wholesale model similar to that of BT's could allow other operators to start marketing faster services. The Virgin network has one big advantage over that of BT, it can potentially support speeds up to 200Mbps to the home; however Virgin have previously been adamant on having no plans to open up their network to the wholesale market.

Comments

Posted by MHMertens over 7 years ago
Why wait for a future government? Did the current gov not allow BT to do that?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Great news, hope it happens, it means rural areas are in with a chance and can own their own fibre, & are spared the cost of digging up all the roads and fields, as access is already there. Whoop.
May take another decade of discussions before it happens though, as Ofcom is not the sharpest crayon in the box, but we will live in hope.
Posted by boggits over 7 years ago
"open access to all ducts, not just ours" implies that BT aren't doing this for the good of the nation but rather so they can get access to other telco's ducts
Posted by timmay over 7 years ago
BT are only doing this because it makes complete business sense. Not only will they get increased revenue from competitors using their ducts they in return want access to other ducts saving them money in not having to dig.

Hopefully it's a win win solution for the broadband customers and road users as less roadworks.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Posted by boggits 20 minutes ago
"open access to all ducts, not just ours" implies that BT aren't doing this for the good of the nation but rather so they can get access to other telco's ducts - You mean they are doing it so other ISP's can get access to Virgin's ducts... not BT to Virgins. Where are Virgin based that BT isn't already
Posted by rogan8 over 7 years ago
"Where are Virgin based that BT isn't already"
Wrong question. Where is there Virgin network duct where there isnt Openreach duct? Where Openreach network is overhead, and where the cabinet is a long way off and there is Virgin cabinet nearby fed by underground duct.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Ok ok sure there are benefits but I can't see that being BT's driver for this.
Posted by rogan8 over 7 years ago
Its a bargaining tool with the regulator/government
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
The clue is in Mr livingstones spill....."open access to all ducts, not just ours,".....
Obviously BT now want to use Virgins network as it supports faster speeds.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
Surely it is any duct, local authority, water sewer, electricity network, duct to mobile towers, Virgin anything that will hold a 20-25mm 2- 12 tube cable.

More interesting would be a an offer to lease out any market 1 exchange area to anybody interested in upgrading it. Any takers for the latter.

Posted by otester over 7 years ago
Open-access to infrastructure means the 50p tax is no longer necessary.

This is the private sector answer!
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
There is no incentive for Virgin to wholesale. With expansion a negative prospect it would cannibalise their stagnant business.
Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
otester,

not the case, the 50p assumed duct sharing in rural areas where it was available.

This is private sector answer to get a cheap ride to business areas with no obligations to do anything else. Still good, but I have seen Carphone network investment plan for the Highlands and Islands, Cumbria.
Posted by rogan8 over 7 years ago
"Obviously BT now want to use Virgins network as it supports faster speeds". Then duct sharing wont make that happen, it would require Virgin to provide wholesale access which is something are strongly opposed to.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
"Posted by CARPETBURN about 1 hour ago
The clue is in Mr livingstones spill....."open access to all ducts, not just ours,".....
Obviously BT now want to use Virgins network as it supports faster speeds." - So Virgin have faster ducts now? Oh man... you crease me up.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Sharing ducts, sharing ducts, keep repeating those words Carpetburn and it might sink in. At no point did anyone mention wanting to use Virgin's network. Using Virgin's ducts to provide a "true" (unlike Virgin's network) end to end fibre network, well that does have appeal for all.
Posted by c_j_ over 7 years ago
"At no point did anyone mention wanting to use Virgin's network. "

Surely the article mentions that: "The Virgin network ... can potentially support speeds up to 200Mbps to the home"?

If this does ever go ahead, via shared duct or via shared fibre, we once again have the "to those that hath, shall more be given" silliness where infrastructure in some areas is unnecessarily duplicated in the name of Market Forces left largely unregulated, while other areas are left years behind.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
c_j those are Thinkbroadbands words... not BT's BT's announcement is about ducts not wanting to use Virgins network
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
I live in Rugby, Worcestershire, and we have SUFFERED for months, holes everywhere on our pathways due to the upgrade of the Gas network.

Why have BT (in all it'd wisdom) shared this to enable cablefibre is a mystery.

By the way was not a law brought forward that when utilities companies wish to mend/upgrade their services they should share their process with other Companies (or is Broadband not considered in the 'necessary' utilities)though many business really heavily on this method.
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
Con't

Why or why have they not used this godsend use. Sometime in the future they will have to dig up the same roads, and yet again cause utter transport havoc) for FTTC/FTTH - why or why have they wasted this opportunity.
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
This can only be a positive thing even if the reasons behind it aren't altruistic.
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
BTW - they went as fat as to the house as the under new regulations the meters must be positioned outside.
Posted by Fixer109 over 7 years ago
Sorry Dixie but what do you mean by your comment?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
quote""At no point did anyone mention wanting to use Virgin's network. "
Surely the article mentions that: "The Virgin network ... can potentially support speeds up to 200Mbps to the home"?"
Best to ignore GMAN99 another BT fan, which doesnt even comprehend targetted advertising.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
BT obviously now want access to other companies ducts and eventually their networks also otherwise why would they want or need duct sharing at all considering BT can already supply to 90% of the population?? Obviously they want a cheap way to also supply faster speeds which the likes of Virgin provide. Not content with trying to steal Virgin customers with targetted ads, now they want their ducts and networks. boggits picked up on the same BT statement before i did, everyone is wrong once again accept BT fanboys, what a shocker!
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
CB can you point out where BT say they want to use Virgins network as you state here:- "Obviously BT now want to use Virgins network as it supports faster speeds." Can't see it mentioned?
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Boggits' referred to duct access only and of course BT want that, as I said above their reasons for this aren't altrustic at all.

Chances are that if someone like a BT can get access to Virgin's ducting they can deploy an all fibre network for much less than doing their own civils. Any decisions on ducting have no bearing at all to wholesale access to the active Virgin network.

No evidence that access to ducting gives access to anything else - Paris being an example, duplication of physical infrastructure, no bearing on wholesale.
Posted by tommy45 over 7 years ago
At the end of the day if the bt monopoly is dissolved then bt 's interest in broadband may well increase and all the old copper/alli cables will get replaced,giving the customer a better reliable service and higher speeds too, both in rural and urban area's as the present system is seriously flawed
Posted by Dixinormous over 7 years ago
Exactly tommy. The customer wins whatever else happens which is why I'm definitely up for this. I couldn't give two hoots whose ducting brings the glass into my home.
Posted by KarlAustin over 7 years ago
CB - Yes BT have access to nearly 100% of the population, with copper cable, mainly overhead. They don't have ducting to anywhere near 100% though - Virgin have a lot more ducting passing properties than BT do, hence why they want access, as it means they don't have to dig up nearly as much road to get FTTC/FTTP deployed. Nothing to do with the actual Virgin network.
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
BT probably to get rental revenue on people using their ducts, I dont know why they have taken this long to announce this.
Posted by damien001 over 7 years ago
@KarlAustin - nice that shut CarpetBurn up.
Posted by bookey over 7 years ago
@mikeblogs
This is private sector answer to get a cheap ride to business areas with no obligations to do anything else. Still good, but I have seen Carphone network investment plan for the Highlands and Islands, Cumbria.
Are you implying they have some plans? :-o
Posted by michaels_perry over 7 years ago
Long, long overdue. This should have been enforced years ago, then we would have had better services at much less cost and certainly much less disruption. However, it doesn't help in rural areas, which are most affected by poor speeds, as there are few ducts off the main routes. There should be a sharing of the telegraph poles as well as then we could have fibre to rural homes/businesses without severe disruption.
Posted by amonra over 7 years ago
Most main BT ducts are already clogged. Trying to drag more FO cables through would cause havoc. The only way to free up some more space is to remove the old copper cables and replace them with FO. This was suggested by BT years ago but permission was refused as being uncompetitive !!!
Posted by perthen over 7 years ago
we had the road outside dug up about 15 years ago to have cable laid by telewest (now defunct) and I have yet to hear one of my neighbours say they have cable in their homes , come on let BT make some use of the ducts because you are not
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