BT have called for equality of access following its recent announcement that it plans to open up its network of cabling ducts to competitors. The company will put pressure on Ofcom and ministers to gain access to Virgin Media's ducts which would allow it to expand its network.
"It is remarkable that those calling for open access from BT are not willing to provide it themselves. We call on others to follow BT's lead in offering to open its infrastructure and content to all on a fair basis.
Competition is a two-way street. We support Jeremy Hunt's [Shadow Secretary of State for Media] call for open access to all networks and call for others to follow our example and to open their infrastructure and services."BT Spokesman talking to The Time
BT already cover the same areas on the access network that Virgin have deployed their cable network, but BT still rely on overhead cable access via poles in some areas. With access to Virgin's ducts, this could allow them to deploy fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) services through these without having to rely on overhead cabling which can be more easily affected by adverse weather conditions, and couple be more costly to install.
Ofcom is expected to look through the issue of duct access in the Spring which will hopefully bring some definitive expectations of what providers will have to do. The logical solution would be to create an open access system for ducts controlled centrally which would hopefully help reduce the amount of people digging up the roads to deploy new networks where competitors ducting sits idly by. It does create some issues of resilience, however, where using different providers can at the moment often protect you from the 'digger through a cable' problem.