Broadband News

Ofcom issues price guidance for line rental products

The price of voice line rental and its effect on broadband costs have been in a state of flux and Openreach in February issued some interim pricing which meant a substantial rise in the cost of fully unbundled line rental but now Ofcom has published its charge controls for the period 2014 to 2017.

Service/Basket Charge as of 31/3/14 Charge as of 1/7/14 Charge control for 2015/16 to 2016/17
MPF Rental per year (Full LLU) £83.92 £86.10 CPI+0.3%
SMPF Rental per year (shared LLU) £9.89 £5.54 CPI-33.4%
WLR Rental per year £93.32 £91.04 CPI-3.0%
WLR Transfer £3.39 £4.63 CPI+34.4%
MPF Migration £30.65 £30.77 CPI-1.7%
SMPF Migration £30.65 £30.77 CPI-1.7%
All prices exclude VAT

So compared to the prices charged between 1st April 2014 and 1st July 2014 (MPF £96.37 and WLR £96.17) the new charges are a significant fall but given that in previous years there has been wholesale price falls but the retail prices still increased we are not expecting 2014 to be any different. As with many industries, retail prices are fast to rise but slow to fall.

The incentive to continue using full LLU will continue for Sky and TalkTalk, but we would have loved Ofcom to introduce some form of naked DSL option, even if only £5 to £10 a year cheaper than the other options it would have allowed for more creativity in the retail market. One reason we think it has not appeared is that the big broadband retailers are keen to retain an active voice line for the incremental revenue it generates.

Update The BT Group has issued a statement about the raft of measures announced by Ofcom.

"BT welcomes the conclusion of this review which recognises the link between improved customer service levels and the price of Openreach’s wholesale copper products for the first time.

Openreach is committed to improving its customer service levels so we support the new targets outlined by Ofcom today. The creation of a further 1600 engineering jobs over the course of this year will help us to continue to meet or exceed these standards. We have also stated that we will publish regular performance data on the Openreach website from this summer to increase transparency.

Regulation needs to reflect the level of competition in the market so it’s only right that Ofcom is levelling the playing field by largely removing the artificial price difference between the wholesale products consumed by the LLU operators and those bought by other companies. We feel Ofcom could have gone further however by addressing this imbalance immediately rather than over a three year period.

We are pleased that Ofcom has acknowledged the success of the current regulatory framework by maintaining pricing freedom for Openreach’s fibre products. The UK boasts one of the most competitive markets in the world with around 140 CPs selling fibre via our open wholesale network, whilst more than 3.2 million households also take superfast broadband from Virgin Media."

Statement from BT spokesperson


I'm just waiting until I can get a FTTP connection or something along those lines and the phone can go in the bin along with the line rental. I'ld rather pay 35 quid for a full fibre/ethernet connection than pay 20 + 15 for something we hardly ever use.

  • audioslim
  • over 6 years ago

It won't be from BT, if you don't pay for either a copper line or fibre voice they charge more on the data to make up.

  • Dixinormous
  • over 6 years ago

AS far as Openreach is concerned Naked DSL can be provided over a full MPF line. So a £10.48 differential to WLR + SMPF. Truth is no provider wants to do it at present as it may drive more voice call revenue to nil cost Voip.

  • jumpmum
  • over 6 years ago

I'm confused. MPF LLU is a naked metal path service (as far as I'm aware), and whilst it is voice line compatible, as far as I can see any LLU operator can already offer a "naked" DSL service if they so wish. Also, if MPF LLU is the Ofcom regulated price for a copper loop, what's the justification for making it cheaper if it's only used for DSL? OR costs are the same.
I suppose if it's for a naked BTW DSL service, then that would be different, but seriously, just how many ISPs would use it given most BT competition is LLU based?

  • TheEulerID
  • over 6 years ago

ADSL was designed to run over POTS.

It provides; whetting current to break any oxide layer that may develop in joints, -ve volts for galvanic protection, and, the presence of volts and dial tone can stop sloppy technicians thinking the pair is free to take.

SHDSL kit does provide whetting current and some also put audio tone on the line.

In Australia, where there are Naked ADSL products there is building argument from Telstra for increased rental for pairs used for Naked ADSL. They cite increased cost of maintenance and fault repair for which they claim supporting evidence.

  • MrToast
  • over 6 years ago

Whetting current important, as is Ringing current. With an intermittent connection, many will know the problem of No Fault present when the engineer turns up. Unless it's a good engineer prepared to do the correct checks, nothing happens & you run the risk of being charged for the visit.
A blast of ringing may often improve things until it's more persistent & a chance of the fault being found.
Nor would I wish to rely on VoIP or Mobiles for urgent/emergency calls. Naked DSL - no thanks.

  • ChrisAO
  • over 6 years ago

To add to the above (600 character limit!) - If a bad connection has not been reported as a Voice fault, you may get fudges to give you more stable (slower) broadband over a duff line (never mind the profile issues on 20CN)!!
Until OR changes its practises for dealing with BB faults (will OFCOM ever force them to??) which would result in not only improved efficiency, but lower costs to the customer, things won't change a lot. Yet again OFCOM is failing to address the issues that give the most grief to the end user and put up costs.

  • ChrisAO
  • over 6 years ago

Posted by Dixinormous 6 days ago
It won't be from BT, if you don't pay for either a copper line or fibre voice they charge more on the data to make up.

Much the same with Virgin, I know because I have Virgin but because I don't want the telephone the broadband is dearer. I'm glad really it made me look around now got broadband, landline & mobile with 2gig data for £38.50 +vat includes 250mins from house phone to mobiles too.

  • wigan
  • over 6 years ago

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