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Ofcom announces Openreach review but keeps full separation in pocket for now
Thursday 25 February 2016 07:50:44 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK broadband market has operated with a degree of stability for some ten years now and the Ofcom review into how Openreach operates and interacts with other providers has now been published. Although much of the precise detail is still unknown, we know the direction Ofcom wants to go. Hopefully the changes are enough to stave off protracted legal fights and will allow even larger investment in network infrastructure both by Openreach and its competitors.

  • A choice of networks for consumers and businesses. Openreach must open up its network of telegraph poles and underground tunnels to allow rivals to build their own, advanced fibre networks, connected directly to homes and offices.
  • Reform of Openreach. Openreach needs to change, taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy, in consultation with the wider industry.
  • Better quality of service across the telecoms industry. Ofcom intends to introduce tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations; transparent information on service quality; and automatic compensation for consumers when things go wrong.
  • Better broadband and mobile coverage. Ofcom will work with the Government to deliver a new universal right to fast, affordable broadband for every household and business in the UK. We also intend to place new obligations in future spectrum licences to improve rural mobile coverage.
Keypoints from Ofcom Digital Communications Review

The key change for Openreach is that Ofcom wants the division with the BT Group to become more independent in how it decides strategy and investment decisions, with Ofcom stating that Openreach has in the past not consulted enough with other telecoms providers about its plans. The points on opening up poles and ducts is interesting as PIA which in theory allows for this already is therefore clearly seen as not working. No firm information is forthcoming on pricing or time scales but with Ofcom saying that it will consider referring Openreach to the CMA (Competition Markets Authority) if Openreach does not play ball fully, the pressure is on Openreach to make duct sharing work for as many providers as possible.

The rumours of the last few days with Openreach being more ring fenced and gaining its own board is described as something that might need to happen, but won't be known for sure until details are thrashed out later in 2016, this gives Openreach a period of a few months to show what it can do in its current format, or this may be something that will now naturally happen with the potential for one or two members of the board being from the major providers.

The most immediate changes for the consumer is that rules around faults, missed appointments and other issues will be toughened up and rather than consumers having to plead for compensation, this will become an automatic process. We presume these automatic 'refunds' will go via the retail and wholesale providers and this is sometimes the bottleneck for existing compensation schemes, so hopefully Ofcom will monitor both Openreach and the providers to make sure they do pass on the full level of compensation due.

We presume 'advanced fibre networks' is a different way of saying Fibre to the Home and Fibre to the Premises and if the price and ease of access is correct this could stimulate the growth of FTTH which Sky and TalkTalk are saying they want to do, though whether this just means competing with Virgin Media to add a third local loop option in the most commercial part of the UK will only be known in time. Even if Openreach was mandated to provide free access to ducts there is still considerable amounts of labour involved in laying subduct and the subsequent fibre runs, so unless someone has a very low cost work force of 100,000's of staff widespread FTTH is still some years away.

Update 11:45am Added comment from Virgin Media.

Update 9:20am A steady stream of operator comments have appeared and rather than include them all we will have to be a bit selective, but here are some of the responses so far.

"The UK is ahead of its European peers when it comes to superfast broadband and we want it to maintain that position. That is why BT is keen to make significant additional investments over the next five years and beyond.

We want to build an even faster network and we also plan to address slow speeds in the final five per cent of the country. It is also important that we give small businesses further options aside from dedicated lines, which suit many but not all. Customer expectations have increased dramatically in recent years and we are keen to work with Ofcom and industry to meet those expectations. We all want to improve service. Openreach is already subject to regulated service standards and we are happy to work with Ofcom to improve them

Our plans would help ensure the UK remains the leading digital nation in the G20 and we are keen to get on with the job. They involve large scale investment however and that requires a high degree of regulatory clarity and certainty, something that is missing at present.

Ofcom have today explained why breaking up BT would not lead to better service or more investment and that structural separation would be a last resort. We welcome those comments. The focus now needs to be on a strengthened but proportionate form of the current model and we have put forward a positive proposal that we believe can form the basis for further discussions with both Ofcom and the wider industry.

Our proposal includes a new governance structure for Openreach as well a clear commitment on investment. Openreach is already one of the most heavily regulated businesses in the world but we have volunteered to accept tighter regulation to bring matters to a clear and speedy conclusion.

We are happy to let other companies use our ducts and poles if they are genuinely keen to invest very large sums as we have done. Our ducts and poles have been open to competitors since 2009 but there has been little very interest to date. We will see if that now changes. “We are keen to understand and address Ofcom’s concerns so we will review their paper in detail. A great deal of what they are proposing is already in place and we are open to discussions about how the current rules can be amended and updated. A voluntary, binding settlement is in everyone’s interests and we will work hard to ensure one is reached"

BT Group Chief Executive - Gavin Patterson

"Hyperoptic, the U.K's leading 1 Gb provider, welcomes Ofcoms decision to force Openreach to properly open its duct and pole network to allow other operators to rollout competing infrastructure services. Having already trialled using those ducts to offer our 1 Gb service, we will be able to reliably and affordably offer our market leading 1 Gb service to even more consumers.

We also advise Ofcom to ensure that all customers of Openreach have a voice in future network decisions and not just those that resell the plain old vanilla FTTC services – it is those that are truly innovating that offer the UK the best chance at a digital future."

Hyperoptic comment

"We welcome Ofcom’s recognition that the current Openreach model is not working and that fundamental change is required. BT must now be held to account for improving service and enabling delivery of fibre to Britain’s homes and businesses. Ofcom's actions today are not the end of the debate but a staging post towards delivering the network and service that Britain needs. We believe the simplest and most effective way to fix the current broken market structure is for Openreach to be completely independent. We are pleased to see that separation is still on the table.

We will work with Ofcom to deliver change at Openreach and we look forward to playing a positive role in helping make Britain a digital world leader."

Comment from Sky spokesperson

"We are disappointed that Ofcom hasn't gone further to challenge the control BT exercises over the communications market, but pleased that Sharon White and her team have recognised the need for significant changes. INCA members build new fibre and wireless networks, often in the most challenging areas of the UK. For too long they have struggled to make sense of the rules and restrictions surrounding access to BT's ducts and poles. A few stout-hearted companies are having a go - notably Warwicknet, Callflow Solutions and Hyperoptic - so steps to make it it easier for competitors to use the existing infrastructure are welcome. It means faster deployment of the high speed, affordable broadband services that consumers and businesses need"

Malcolm Corbett, INCA's Chief Executive

"CityFibre welcomes the recommendations published today by Ofcom following its Strategic Review of Digital Communications. The report’s conclusions are clear – that to meet the UK’s current and future digital communication needs, and enable widespread availability of competing fibre to the premises networks, a strategic shift to support large-scale investment in end-to-end fibre is required. To accelerate this, Ofcom recommends the promotion of investment and competition, and provisions such as the assurance of meaningful access to BT’s physical infrastructure. The conclusions in today’s report will considerably strengthen CityFibre’s capability to drive forward an alternative fibre future for Britain."

Greg Mesch, CityFibre CEO

"The best way to provide competition against BT and its inherited advantages is to support infrastructure investors like Virgin Media. We are challenging the incumbent with £3bn of investment in new network and providing choice.

Ofcom has done the right thing by resisting separating Openreach, which would have sent a negative signal to infrastructure investors.

Virgin Media CEO, Tom Mockridge

"ISPA is pleased that Ofcom has an ambitious vision and proposals on how the UK connectivity needs can be transformed over the next decade. With ISPA members investing heavily in their networks across the country - locally and nationally utilising a range of technologies - ISPA supports the report’s objectives to improve performance, enhance competition and investment and make rolling out networks easier in this data-driven age."

ISPA Comment

"I welcome these initial conclusions from Ofcom and the new policy direction that is emerging. I think that the policy proposals are certainly moving in a direction that will prioritise FTTH and accelerate deployment in the UK. While the UK ranks close to last in FTTH in Europe hence does not qualify to be listed in the Global FTTH rankings, with the right policy response Ofcom can help the UK to quickly move to the other end of the table and join the league of FTTH leading economies."

FTTH Council Europe President Edgar Aker


Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
Whilst the report does not directly say so it does look as if OFCOM are moving towards separating Openreach away from the main BT Group. The most likely way this will be achieved would be by setting up Openreach as a wholly owned BT subsidiary company. They seem to have rullled out at present selling it off
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
What happens next depends greatly on what Openreach do and whether the other stakeholders such as Sky/TalkTalk believe the changes are a good way forward for the next decade.
Posted by zyborg47 about 1 year ago
For years I thought that the best thing to do is to split BT into three companies, but no doubt too many people in government with shares in BT, so it will never happen.
i did have a laugh at Dido on the radio saying about the quality of service of BT, she really should have a look at the company she is CEO of.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Certainly it's separation by stealth, but we'll see.

As for what PIA will become, lots of head scratching there. Maybe if I was OR I might say here's the physical plant records, here's the technical standards plus a bit of capacity planning (plus a price list), now get on w Are with it. A parallel workforce swarming all over the the OR passive infrastructure will be an interesting experience, especially if they have to get into all the duct-clearing, streetworks and so on.
Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
It makes no difference to BT shareholders if BT Openreach becomes a wholly owned BT Company. BT Group would hold a 100% of the share capital. THe difference it would make is total seperation from the BT Group as it would have its own board and sharholding. ~It would no longer have to contribute towards the BT Corporate costs or to BT Group R&D costs etc
Posted by 961a about 1 year ago
What a load of cobblers!

Do you see Sky/TalkTalk rushing to instal their own networks down all these manholes? Really?

We don't actually need ultrafast. What we do need is the fixing of not spots so everybody gets a good basic service. Ofcom chief woolly in the extreme about time scale for that or where the money was to come from

Posted by gt94sss2 about 1 year ago
@Bob_s2 Yes but at the same time Openreach would then need to start funding the costs it incurs which the BT Group now pick up centrally. This includes pensions, R&D and borrowing/financing costs - which are going to significant for OR
Posted by ansam about 1 year ago
I too don't see the likes of sky or talktalk rushing to implement their own fibre network, as has already been pointed out the ability to access the ducts and poles has been in place for some time with little or no action to use that facility.

OR need to do better in notspots but on the whole I don't think they are doing to bad, speeds ARE moving in the right direction and there is ongoing discussion about the way forward. Service level could get better bit again improvements are being made.
Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
Overlaying a second local loop in areas where BT already has a 100% of the market makes no sense it would take decades just to recover then investment. Having BT Openreach as a separate BT company makes far more sense. It removes the current conflict of interest and lack of transparency with costs

A separate Openreach would have a real interest in rolling out fibre as the more users and services it gets on the network the better. If you take Sky people will pay up to a £100 a month for TV alone
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
bob you means like it does today
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
Yet Ofcom reported that the best competition to BT - the one that has spurred on most of BT's developments - comes from Virgin's cable network. With a vertically-integrated operation.

In fact the model they want to achieve - a real, physical network operator - will own their own network, and be vertically integrated too.

It seems strange to force Openreach to be split from BT when Ofcom has recognised that this model is best - at least in the competitive parts.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
interesting to see what happens to virgin and none of there network Is open to anyone

Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

Just what would be the motivation? OR will get little, if any of that new revenue. At the moment they get something more with GEA-FTTC over a raw MPF line, but in a couple of years that will come under regulatory pressure. The same will be true of GEA-FTTP. OR get none of the incremental revenue from content. The ISPs will just demand the cheapest possible wholesale prices. If the ROI case for FTTP was good, it would already be happening.
Posted by themanstan about 1 year ago
A wholly owned OR would be responsible for all of it's liabilities... which would mean pension pot and deficit...
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Your comment makes zero sense Bob.

On the one hand someone can make £100 a month selling TV, on the other there's no case for altnets who can sell retail to FTTP.

Meanwhile a separate Openreach that has no retail connection would apparently deliver FTTP despite only making a few quid a month incremental revenue.

Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
hit the nail on the head so get 100 per month for TV and give Copper Free but that person want fibre and that costs because it not LLU-- not factored in the £100 for the TV so if sky can get the fibre at copper price so still make £100 that about market Retion only

Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
Actually there is a more interesting angle, with FTTH delivering TV via satellite makes no sense, and a gradual off loading of channels from satellites will save money in the longer term, i.e. no need to replace birds as they reach end of their planned life or you can use bandwidth for UHD and broadcast less viewed channels via IPTV.

So might be less about competing with BT Retail and more about competing with Virgin Media in those highly commercial two thirds of the UK.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I imagine that BT Retail's aim is to join VM in the TV fight with Sky.

For a full-on TV broadcaster, the best way to use broadband for popular channels is through multicast ... which would require payment to BT (BT Wholesale?) instead of to Astra for the satellite.

Otherwise your core network starts to creak instead...
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
And that is why Sky has pushed for dark fibre type services i.e. where high usage and speed does not impact on the cost i.e. almost zero cost to broadcast channels assuming user is also paying for broadband.

Potentially the CityFibre JV could now use a mixture of its own and Openreach ducting to cover areas faster and avoid the micro trenching in residential streets.

What will be interesting is what happens when a duct is full of sub ducts.
Posted by 961a about 1 year ago
Biggest desire of many deprived broadband users is a resoltion of problem of Exchange Only Lines. Ofcom report deal with this major issue?
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
961a so if you are close to the exchnage you proably have a high copper broadband service (prob in excess of proposed 10 USO) only if you are an EO line on Extemities on former industial sites is cities or other areas will you still have challenges
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
fastman - under EU rules Ofcom can only regulate one network.

That said, the Netherlands are looking to change this, they want to regulate the Liberty Global cable company Ziggo in addition to KPN.
Posted by 961a about 1 year ago

Many EO lines getting less than 8Mbps ADSL in Scotland. Why has this problem not been addressed in Ofcom report?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

Really? I thought the rule for (tightly) regulating companies was if they has SMP (Significant Market Power), which does not necessarily mean they have more than half the market.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
@TheEulerID -

'However, opening up the cable network requires a change in EU rules, because the current legislation ensures that only that one network can be regulated. The adaptation of European rules, thanks to the merger, is “more important” according to Kamp.'
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
A couple more.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Ofcom look to have done a good job with this review but I am not sure that it will help the final 5% get decent broadband. Opening up our rural ducting to completion is unlikely to be attractive to anyone!
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I imagine a street is going to be either ducted, or microtrenched. Can't imagine swapping when subduct is full.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
Posted by 961a about 2 hours ago
Many EO lines getting less than 8Mbps ADSL in Scotland. Why has this problem not been addressed in Ofcom report?

so I would speaking to digital scoland aound those as 8m suggest they are market 1 exchanges with very small number of customer on exchange -- so how many customers on your exchange over what distance
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
In some respects, EO lines are a solved problem ... inasmuch as BT know how to go about it, and include this solution in their BDUK plans. It has become widespread over the last 12 months.

But it isn't cheap, so it tends to be left towards the end of phase 1, or into phase 2. So there is plenty more to happen in the next 2 years, towards the target of 95-96%.

Areas not caught there will fall into the USO provisions - which is the closest thing Ofcom are concerned about in this long-term strategy view.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
If your exchange is limited to 8Mbps, it suggests you are a small area with a small exchange and no physical room for a 21CN upgrade.

It looks like BT are starting to trial ways to achieve an upgrade in such circumstances, but it looks to require tight coordination with ISPs. Its unlikely to be a fast process ... and there looks to be 1,900 exchanges like this.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
I'm as surprised as Euler. Very limited thinking somewhere in the EU!
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
What a bizarre rule the EU has come up. I can understand it when there's clearly only one operator with SMP, but what about when there are two with much the same position. Isn't that the case in a lot of the Netherlands where there is strong cable presence?
Posted by RandomJointer about 1 year ago
Kingston Comms is also regulated similarly to Openreach.So I don't buy the only one theory.

I don't see any meaningful unbundling of BT physical plant in notspots coming out of this.

BT keeps Openreach. Virgin keeps being an untouched by regulation major player. OfCOM keeps it's reason for existence.

Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
If you check the regulation you'll note that Kingston Comms are regulated in the area where they are the incumbent only.

Kingston do not have SMP outside of that general area and are not regulated outside of it.

Were Openreach to deploy in Hull they'd be considered an alternative network and not regulated.

EU rules complied with. At no point in any geographic area are two operators simultaneously regulated.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Of course, if you disagree with the Dutch finance minister alongside his legal advice and don't 'buy' his 'theory' that's entirely your prerogative.

Given this was a decision they originally reached in 2014 I would speculate that he and his department haven't been saying this since then for entertainment value.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
Interesting. I've had a look through this directive and (the use of plurals) allows for their to be more than one operator with SMP to be designated in a given market. But there is, of course, a difference between what the regulations say and what the EU body will permit in practice as I believe Ofcom has to submit its proposals for changes to the EU competition regulatory body.
Posted by Zarjaz about 1 year ago
Well said Random !

As I see it the greater the pressure put upon Openreach in terms of penalties for dreamt up targets, the less possibility Openreach has to invest in network changes, too busy chasing stats.
Posted by Zarjaz about 1 year ago
As for sharing duct space ...... I don't see why Openreach should until Virgin are forced to do likewise. Yet again a British company is prostituted by the government.

You wait, as contractors paid by the meter they install start to horse through the network .... THEN see how the fault rates rise.

Utter nonsense
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Could it be that OFCom took notice of Mr Saffrons TBB results from Surrey running at 96% at 24meg down and they have not yet spent the OMR money yet ,and I feel that 96% is low by 2%. My 2% does not cover the customers that are being fibre cabled.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
The entire world, at least the one the rest of us live in, doesn't revolve around Surrey's BDUK programme.

Highly, highly unlikely that any single local authority's programme would've significantly influenced the decision making process.
Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
blackmamba I have no idea as ever what you are talking about
Posted by chrysalis about 1 year ago
as expected ofcom either didnt have the balls to do it, or some lobbying by BT affiliates put a block to it.
With that said it is good ofcom have at least recognised things are not hunky dory and this list of proposed changes is a step in the right direction. The real big change needed however is for openreach to be directly liable to the end user.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Fastman.
I think Mr Saffron understands either he is correct or the BM is over his results.
What Ofcom has done it has given advantage to BT by opening up the ducting and the overhead thus running regulated twin services.
I would have thought that if BTordered a G/fast unit to an area the ports would only be available to BT customers or others at a price.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
After all the public cash spent in the BDUK areas I think that Openreach should now be spending some of its own cash to make improvements to the copper network.
We have to face the fact that rural areas are not going to benefit widely from G.Fast and FTTP so it is high time that Openreach got rid of its aluminium cable for example.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Blackmamba - Openreach have been offering access to their poles and ducts since 2013. This is not new. They are just changing the tesrms and conditions.

BT Retail will not order to an area. Same as now Openreach build it, BT Wholesale or another CP rent it.

I have no idea what you're talking about with regards to regulated twin services. Altnets using BT plant will not be regulated.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
chilting - I can't see spending a bunch of cash improving the copper plant happening.

I can easily imagine it being more cost effective to overbuild with at least partial fibre than to replace aluminium sections with copper.

Posted by fastman about 1 year ago
chrysalis --
The real big change needed however is for openreach to be directly liable to the end user. --

CPs' don't what that in any shape or form 1!!!! as they want the Customer Control. interesting it got they now don't even want openreach branded kit in the House .. new Hubs are hubs and Modem built in
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Chrysalis - Openreach tried being liable to the end user. Sky, Vodafone, TalkTalk and others complained and the plan was soon halted in its tracks.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Yes, accepted overbuilding with fibre would be better but that will not always be viable.
We have to be realistic, any improvement is better than nothing and replacing old infrastructure will be a good way of giving many customers in rural areas the 10mbps USC.
Also if we use bonding that will also help in areas that are unlikely to get G.Fast or FTTP.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

We've yet to see what Ofcom's proposal is for the USO, who the obligation will fall on and how it is to be funded. As far as BDUK goes, then that was a gap-funding model so there was Openreach contribution (and a clawback mechanism to recover over-subsidy payments).
BT accounts would indicate that only around half the combined BDUK/matching funds have been received as grants so I suspect there's quite a lot more to come, albeit increasingly expensive (although BDUK is > 24mbps, a side-effect is increasing 10mbps coverage).
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
This is one area I think that OFCOM need to be very tough with Openreach on and clearly the over-subsidy payments could be used.
Maybe if they set minimum acceptable speeds dependent on length of line from the cabinet for FTTC lines and the exchange for ADSL lines [beyond FTTC coverage] that would give Openreach the push to improve its network.
Posted by chrysalis about 1 year ago
CarlThomas I know they tried, ofcom should be telling those that blocked it tough luck, if openreach is not to be separated then the excessive control the resellers have needs to be diminished (yes they just resellers).
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
The subtle difference would be to make Openreach liable to the ISP's customer not the ISP itself.
If that could be achieved the onus would be on Openreach to improve its local network when for example aluminium cable was slowing the broadband speed.
Posted by Bob_s2 about 1 year ago
WE need to have a much bigger vision with HS broadband. If you just look at Fibre for Broadband the economics of it are very long term but if you look at it as delivering broadband, voice, TV and other added value services the economics change dramatically. Most of the existing terrestrial TV channels could be delivered by Fibre. The current transmitter network is very expensive to maintain and probably uses more power than Fibre would need. You can also sell of the redundant bandwidth
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop about 1 year ago
But by doing that you are then forcing people to buy fibre broadband to get TV. Some older people don't want broadband at all but under your plan would have to pay an extra £20+ per month just to receive the TV they used to get for just the licence fee
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

Any "over compensation" payments that you refer to at the business of BDUK, and not Ofcom (who don't run the project). It is also subject to contract law. In any event, there would have to be a full-on auditing and financial analysis exercise or it will end up in court. Ofcom are simply not allowed to act arbitrarily.
What is more likely is political pressure towards a compromise, but we've yet to see the proposals.
Posted by RuralWire about 1 year ago
An interesting document. I reckon Ms White has seen through and transcended the buffoonery between BT Group and Sky (in pursuance of the self-serving interests of their respective shareholders and supporters) and thrown the gauntlet to the ground. Judging by the "corporate" statements in reaction to the challenge, it looks to me as if Sky are in desperate need of a fig leaf to hide their withering FTTP credentials.
Posted by RuralWire about 1 year ago
@Chilting + TheEulerID - You might be interested to know that BT Group has submitted supplementary written evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which includes an outline of the BT Group proposal for delivering a 10Mbps USO without public subsidy.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

Many people would be very resistant to losing broadcast-to-air services.

High speed BB coverage would have to be very high indeed. Also, if you put all your communication eggs into one BB basket then a network failure (and they happen) would mean losing TV as well.

The cost of terrestrial transmission is not that high. BBC accounts show about £5 per year per licence holder.
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Transferring terrestrial TV to fibre would simply result in a large hike in data charges.
I might even be tempted to buy some BT and Sky shares if that happened!
Posted by chilting about 1 year ago
Good, thank you. It seems that Openreach are moving in the right direction despite the Sky distractions.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago

That document probably tells us why very few ISPs support FTTP ... because there is a risk of excess construction charges, and Openreach will only absorb £1,000 of them, leaving the ISP to cover the rest or pass them on to the EU.

The rest of it tells us an awful lot about the finances of Openreach over the last few years, and the BDUK funding totals.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

I think the idea that alternative ISPs won't support FTTP because of potential excess construction charges is a complete red herring. It's no different in principle to that for phone lines (albeit at different thresholds and rarer) and orders are always provisional anyway. BT Consumer pass on e excess construction charges on FTTP (I've seen forum postings on the matter).

However, the remainder of the document is very informative, but why on earth were BDUK not briefing MPs on the contractual calculations?
Posted by kijoma about 1 year ago
"Our ducts and poles have been open to competitors since 2009 but there has been little very interest to date. " So can somebody remind me what happened with the BDUK competitive framework with respect to this ?
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago

From what I recall OR would required to provide information to potential bidders about the passive infrastructure in all the intervention areas, although that's necessarily more statistical in nature than specific (a full survey would have taken far longer than the time available and would have been enormously costly).
I believe some bits (like the Fujitsu one) were predicated on appropriate use of OR passive infrastructure.
Posted by kmendum about 1 year ago
Access to BT duct and poles is problematic on many fronts. As a telco you have to know how to provide new connections via the infrastructure (requires accurate records). You have to be able to repair it if it breaks (requires new processes and accurate records). You have to be able to get from the infrastructure to the customer, and that is the expensive bit for domestic provision, hence the interest in using sewer pipes (again)
Posted by kmendum about 1 year ago
contd...All this assumes there is space in the BT duct for additional cables, and the duct is in a fit state for them to be installed. If either of those preconditions fails you are back to digging up the street, which you wanted to avoid in the first place :(

If you want to use spare pairs in the copper cables, you have to hope that they are spare because they were not required rather than because of poor performance.

All this before you even consider the payment to BT.
Posted by WWWombat about 1 year ago
You're right if the fibre ECC gets passed on to the EU just like the copper one does.

However, we've seen cases where BTr or Plusnet have absorbed those fttp charges - even if they havent done so for everyone. Things definitely aren't quite the same.

An interesting question about BDUK briefings - perhaps the adversarial nature of the PAC inquisitions led to something of an embattled hunkering down.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
An admission that I'd read EU as "European Union", not "End User" so I'd (sort of) ignored that as I didn't understand the relevantce of the former. All is now clear.

As far as BT Consumer absorbing any excess goes, then that's maybe BT as a whole trying to avoid lots of bad publicity for the group. In any event, BT Consumer's policy will surely have that consideration. After all, neither TT or Sky were exactly promoting VDSL products strongly in the early days.
Posted by TheEulerID about 1 year ago
With BDUK not briefing PAC properly, then you could well be right. The BDUK project team might well have wanted to stay out of the firing line. It's clear some of the MPs in the PAC committee were more interested in the impression they could make than finding any facts.

There is another possibility of course, and that is that the formula used for payment and clawback were subject to the confidentiality clauses and the BDUK project could not discuss it, but that seems a bit unlikely. (The internal BT stuff on capex is, of course, not a BDUK thing).
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
I've just made a complaint to Ofcom (my fibre install has taken 8mths so far and counting),told SFastCymru I'd done that & sure enough 2days later they escalated it & we now have movement.AFAICS,OR ops are in a mess.No funding.Outsourced everywhere.Contractors make mistakes & poor work.Bureaucratic admin.SFC announce several delays to projects.Opening ducts to others is not going to resolve OR's problems.(It'll just allow cherrypicking the same areas as always,and the rest of the country left to rot).BT Group starving OR of funding?This is what Ofcom should be tackling.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Broadband Watchers.
Most of the problems are all the ISP,s not offering the available options on the post codes you can see this by the low take up rate 22% aprox across the country on the provision of FTTC. There are many customers holding back hoping they will get fibre to the home free or higher speeds than 10 meg. Openreach is providing fibre access ports at a high rate so the onus is in the hands of the EU (customer).
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
50% take up at this postcode on FTTP. (At least that's going by orders placed up to 8 months ago, but no-one has avutally got it yet). High take-up becuase speeds are currently abysmal at thislocation. FTTC take up is low because rollout has been concentrated on the usual well-served areas first and consists of lots of people already satisfied with their current speed and don't see a need to move.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
^^ PS. And that 50% takeup is based on a fraction of the ISPs offering FTTP (it's quite hard to find any), so low take up is not necessarily ISPs' fault for not offering all options.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Csimon.
If the ISP is unable to provide service on the (post code/DP ) you move as for the customers that have not taken up the service on FTTC they may find it may be cheaper if they move and get a better speed as all ports are open to all ISP,s.
Buyer beware.
Posted by csimon about 1 year ago
@Blackmamb - how rude to tll me to move, would you move if your local branch of tesco was out of stock of bread this week? try putitng yourself into someone else's shoes instead of seeing things from your own point of view. Telecomms should be a global right.
Posted by Blackmamba about 1 year ago
Hi Csimon.
I am not being rude to you. If my local tesco ran out of bread I would try another shop and surport the shop that gave me the best service and price. I think no person has the right to telecomms for free not even your daily bread.
Posted by comnut about 1 year ago
And what if there are NO other shops, or they are ALL supplied from ONE provider???
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Mamba what are you talking about with regards to customers holding back hoping they'll get FTTP or higher than 10Mb?

Ah... this is the Surrey fixation again isn't it. Based around the very few areas in Surrey and elsewhere where there is low speed FTTC and FTTP available.

That is not a large enough sample to extrapolate nationwide. There are not 'many' customers with that predicament.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Mamba. There are something like 24 million premises passed by FTTC.

About 1/10th that passed by FTTP.

A tiny fraction of that 1/10th that are FTTP overbuilds of FTTC areas.

It's nothing to do with FTTC takeup. FTTC take up isn't super high because, for a lot of people, their ADSL serves them for right now. It's still, nonetheless, higher than forecast.

The 63 million of us who don't live in Surrey really couldn't care less about the broadband there.
Posted by CarlThomas about 1 year ago
Grr the above should say '1/100th of that is passed by FTTP' and 'A tiny fraction of that 1/100th...'.
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