Ofcom may end up setting pricing for access to BT's poles and ducts following a speech today by head of Ofcom, Ed Richards according to PCPro. BT announced their draft proposal for the physical infrastructure access (PIA) product back in January and this defines the pricing and process for other telecommunications providers to gain access to BT's ducts and poles to lay their own cables. Talking at a Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) committee today, Richards was asked if BT are charging too much for PIA.
"It would be much better if the parties can agree a market rate. [..] If after that there is no agreement, and there is a dispute brought to us, we will end up setting a price.
We have to let the commercial negotiation process conclude first. We'll know quite quickly if we have to regulate or not."Ed Richards, (Chief Executive) Ofcom
With providers currently being rather vocal about their opinions on pricing for PIA, and BT holding their ground it looks as if things are heading toward stalemate which may end up with regulation being required. With this kind of thing, a commercial negotiation would be favoured by all parties though, so with that as a threat, it could help get providers talking. Any input required from Ofcom would likely add many months to the process and could therefore delay the roll-out of fibre from other providers by a year or more, something which is unlikely to be wanted from those who are looking to deploy their own fibre networks.