OFCOM report – some help but let’s keep ploughing on

Ofcom has reported today on a range of BT issues.  There are  couple of things that may be helpful to us, but it is hard to tell and they will take a year or two to implement.

  1. Ofcom is belatedly asking Openreach to allow other companies to use Openreach’s telegraph poles and ducts to lay fibre that competes with BT.  As part of this Ofcom is asking Openreach to produce a database of where and in what condition the ducts and poles are in.  Superficially this might be helpful to us in the Connect8 area as it is impossible to buy modern services here over BT’s clapped out wires.  So if you are prepared to pay then it might now be possible to get some fibre over the last mile or two or three.  Also we know that BT doesn’t know the state or even precise location of many local wires, ducts etc. It might make things more amenable to people like Gigaclear. As Ofcom says ‘Inevitably, this kind of investment is most viable in denser urban areas and other places with strong demand for new services. ‘  this could be useful for people with deep pockets or businesses who aren’t reached by the plans BT and OCC are drawing up which should bring fibre cabinets nearer to us, from which we could ten run services.
  2. Service standards for Openreach – many local people suffer very poor line quality and basic DSL performance.  Introducing service standards might help this, tied in with delivering 10Mb/s as a new universal services.  Locally services are around 0.5Mb/s to 2Mb/s in part because the kit is knackered and the distances too long.  so improved service standards should help.  As OFCOM say ‘we will seek to ensure that, if things do go wrong, consumers and small businesses receive automatic compensation for any loss of or reduction in service. This will provide a significant incentive for providers to improve service and fix faults quickly.’ The plans being drawn up by Openreach and the County Council should improve this but not for everyone.
  3. OFCOM draw attention to a review I hadn’t heard of that will be of interest locally ‘our review of the small market where local loop unbundling of BT’s copper cables
    is not economically viable and superfast broadband is not yet available – the
    Wholesale Broadband Access Market Review; ‘ Basically this is for exchanges like Turville where you are stuck with BT – I shall put a submission in on this.

Much of the media coverage will be on OFCOM not separating out BT and Openreach – I am relaxed about this – it would have led to years of court battles and wouldn’t have helped us an inch.  We just carry on working with Village Networks on their proposal for a radio based local solution and also with OCC and BT on their plans for subsidised VDSL locally.

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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