Ofcom Set to Ease BT Broadband Rules

The Times has reported today that rules around BT’s supply of broadband to rivals could be rolled back after a review by the regulator.

Ofcom, which ruled in 2004 that BT had a dominant position in wholesale broadband provision across the UK and imposed rules accordingly, indicated that it could overturn that conclusion.

Although the former monopoly retains its dominance in certain markets, it said, it is now weighing up the position in some areas where competition is fiercer and where the exchange serves 10,000 or more homes and businesses.

Because of the ‘rapidly changing’ competitive conditions in these specific areas, it said, it is to conduct a separate review of them to ascertain if BT still has significant market power. It will announce its proposals in May next year.

Since the last review of wholesale broadband access, the market for high-speed internet access has changed dramatically. Consumer take-up and speeds have surged and prices have fallen.

Ofcom is calling for comments from interestd parties by the middle of February 2007 and will issue further statements in May 2007.