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BT Openreach to push ahead with £12bn FTTP investment following Ofcom ruling

Paul Lipscombe
March 18, 2021

The regulation changes by Ofcom are expected to speed up the fibre rollout in the UK

BT plans to push ahead with its £12bn full-fibre investment following new rules announced today (March 18) by Ofcom.

The regulator has decided to not impose any price cap on full-fibre connections provided by BT’s subsidiary Openreach.

It comes as part of Ofcom’s Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review, with the new regulations applying for BT from April 2021 until March 2026.

BT has welcomed the move and has ambitions to connect 20 million premises by the mid-to-late 2020s.

BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen said the telco will now “get on and build like fury”.

“This is good news for all fibre providers in the UK. For us, it is the greenlight we’ve been waiting for to get on and build like fury.

“Full fibre broadband will be the foundation of a strong BT for decades to come and a shot in the arm for the UK as we build back better from this pandemic. Connecting the country has never been more vital,” said Jansen.

Ramp up rollout

Ofcom say the new conditions will ramp up the rollout of full-fibre broadband nationwide, as the new fibre replaces the ageing copper networks.

In recent years Ofcom has dropped the wholesale price that Openreach charges retail providers for its 40Mbit/s copper wire broadband service, and under the new regulations these prices will remain flat, confirms the regulator.

Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes has called the need to invest in better broadband as a “once-in-a-century” chance for the UK.

“Over the past year, being connected has never mattered more. But millions of homes are still using the copper lines that were first laid over 100 years ago.

“Now it’s time to ramp up the rollout of better broadband across the UK. We’re playing our part – setting the right conditions for companies to step up and invest in the country’s full-fibre future.”

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