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Draft Openreach duct and pole sharing document reveals pricing
Friday 14 January 2011 15:44:38 by John Hunt

Openreach have today revealed their draft proposals for physical infrastructure access (PIA) which is a product that Ofcom are requiring Openreach to provide. This will allow other network operators to use BT's existing ducts or poles to deploy cables for their own network use, and should in theory make it cheaper to run networks along-side BT's as it can avoid costly work with digging up roads of pavements to install new cabling ducts. Openreach are also inviting communication providers to participate in a trial of the service to test all aspects of the process.

One key use for PIA would be to allow other network operators to start rolling out fibre to areas where BT do not deem it cost effective to deploy. This could therefore mean that areas in the final-third of the country which are currently deemed unviable to receive fibre-broadband could see a change to this policy- assuming duct and pole sharing is cost-effective to the network operator.

On designing the reference offer, Openreach have looked to other European and International operators where similar services are already available and suggests that its price proposal is approximately 15% less than the average in France, Spain, Portugal and Germany. Openreach are looking at £0.95 per per metre of spine duct on a 10 year term, or £1.16 on 5 year term. A lead-in duct on a 5 year term would be £2.12 per metre. Cables run on poles would be subject to a £21 fee per attachment. Other charges are applicable for splicing or cable coiling within ducts as well as various fees for work to be carried out by Openreach staff.

A key point that Openreach are looking to impose on other network operators who want to use BT ducts or poles is that they will also need to open up their own infrastructure in a similar way. This could therefore allow BT to perhaps find cost efficiencies through using other ducts where either its own are full or it only has over-head cables in areas. Whether Ofcom will allow this condition to be in place will be interesting to see.

"Today we're doing what we promised by offering the communications industry yet another way of accessing our network in order to deliver super-fast broadband speeds to homes and businesses. We've listened to the views and requirements of our customers and will continue to work closely with industry and Ofcom to finalise the details of our duct and pole sharing products.

Although we don't view duct and pole sharing as the silver bullet to get fibre to every premises in the UK, these new products represent a positive step, opening our infrastructure to supply industry with an even wider range of different mechanisms for delivering fibre broadband. We also think it's really important that consumers and businesses continue to enjoy a choice of fibre services so we will be expecting others to be as open as we are."

Steve Robertson, (CEO) Openreach

The commercial launch of the PIA products are expected later in the year but more details and the reference pricing can be found on the Openreach website.


Posted by JohnUK over 6 years ago
ETA until Virgin Media have to share their ducts?
Oh no, that's right, Ofcom are two faced hypocrites who happy to bully BT but not show equal regulation on the direct competition which is Virgin Media Cable.
How long will VM be allowed to stay without scrutiny? Without dragging them into proper 21st century regulation?
Posted by Somerset over 6 years ago
And do we like the prices?

Interesting to see an unblocking charge. When do they discover a duct is blocked?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
If they are 15% cheaper than others in Europe I'd say they are good. <crosses fingers that Virgin have to open up too>
Posted by krazykizza over 6 years ago
This seems very exciting! But will still be quite some time before investment is allocated to a delivery of this kind, not holding my breath.
Posted by Gamerwillz over 6 years ago
I'm hoping that Virgin Media will open up theirs. They have a hell of a fibre network!
Posted by petercf over 6 years ago
Now am I right in understanding that the fibre on poles can only be used for access and not for backhaul?
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
^ I would expect so, backhaul should be in ducts
Posted by adslmax over 6 years ago
Gamerwillz: Virgin Media will refuse to open up their ducts to BTW as they already say NO before and will going to say NO again.
Posted by KarlAustin over 6 years ago
I agree with BTs provision that others should open up their ducts if they expect access, seems fair to me. Especially when considering Virgin.
Posted by opticalgirl over 6 years ago
i wonder which charge is 15% cheaper than Europe?

there's a list of 20 or more possible chargeble items on the Openreach price list.

it would be interesting to see a worked example with all the costs thrown in.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
It seems expensive to me. Like renting a house you'd just be throwing the money away.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
@timmay - think about it more as renting business property, you're renting it to make money out of it. That's what it's about.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
What about VOA...?
Posted by New_Londoner over 6 years ago
Presumably still applicable as you;re renting access to the ducts, poles etc but installing your own fibre in/on them.
Posted by timmay over 6 years ago
@Dixinormous But at those prices you won't be making any money unless broadband gets a lot more expensive.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
@timmay, how much the ISP charges should have no bearing on access rental

I agree broadband is too cheap in the UK but that has nothing to do with prices for opening up ducts/poles
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
"When do they discover a duct is blocked?"

when they try to pull a cable in ?
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
I haven't got into the detail of what's being offerred, but OFCOM can only mandate BT to do things in markets where they have SMP. If leased lines for business is as I recall not one where BT have SMP, then OFCOM can't make BT open up duct or pole access specifically for that purpose. So no leased lines or mobile backhaul by law. but possibly by agreement.
Posted by Dixinormous over 6 years ago
timmay - retail prices are sadly irrelevant, that's a failure on the part of Ofcom when they forced BT to sell LLU products at the point where free broadband on a telephone line was potentially profitable.

BT are undercutting European prices, get enough customers to spread the cost between and it can and does work - ask the people who've bought ducting space elsewhere.
Posted by chrysalis over 6 years ago
so 1km of duct £1016 equivelent to £116 per year?
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 6 years ago
anyone know what it costs bt/openreach or any company for that what it costs to lay duct per meter?
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
Costs ? anything from £5/m to £150/m to dig in new ducting depending on who you believe and circumstances.

Openreach prices above are I believe to install a "sub duct" within an existing duct, for the use of the other party. BT Openreach charges (in its excess construction charges) £3.50 per metre to install the microduct as part of its own supply of its own services.
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