Ofcom has launched a consultation on promoting competition and investment in fibre networks. In its consultation, it reports that demand for fixed and mobile broadband connections is growing rapidly, from both people and businesses. To meet this demand, sizeable investment is needed to upgrade the UK’s broadband infrastructure. Ofcom has also stated that the UK government has also signalled strong support for fibre networks and wants 15 million premises to be connected by 2025.
In February 2016 Ofcom published its initial conclusions from the Strategic Review of Digital Communications. It explained that one of its strategic objectives is to promote the interests of consumers by encouraging the large-scale deployment of new fibre networks in support of providing competing ultrafast broadband services.
Given Ofcom’s strategy, it considers that it will be increasingly important to understand the costs of deploying fibre networks to support its future regulatory decisions. Understanding the cost of deploying a fibre network will help it determine the likelihood of competition emerging in a particular area. It will also help it to design charge control remedies that fulfil the objectives it set out in the March 2019 consultation on its approach to remedies.
Ofcom intends to issue consultations on a full set of market proposals, including market definition, market power assessment and remedies for wholesale networks, in December 2019. Ofcom will publish a further version of the costs model as part of this consultation.
The consultation ends on 2 August 2019.