Insights Ofcom publishes Statement setting out its decisions on the regulation of the wholesale fixed telecoms market


The statement sets out Ofcom’s decisions for regulation of the fixed telecoms markets that underpin broadband, mobile and business connections for the period from April 2021 to March 2026. Ofcom says its decisions are designed to promote competition and investment in gigabit-capable networks, bringing faster, better broadband to people across the UK.

Ofcom explains that as demand for data continues to accelerate, the UK’s infrastructure urgently needs an upgrade. This will require significant private investment in full-fibre broadband, which is much faster and more reliable than the networks most people use today.

Network competition has helped full fibre coverage increase at its fastest ever rate over the last year. Ofcom’s regulations build on this momentum, driving competitive commercial investment and supporting the closure of the country’s 100-year-old copper network; while ensuring consumers are protected from high prices.

Ofcom’s decisions to support competitive investment include action on the following key areas:

  • wholesale price regulation that encourages investment and promotes competition;
  • closing the copper network;
  • duct and pole access; and
  • preventing anti-competitive behaviour.

Ofcom has also set out how it will regulate Openreach’s leased lines, which are high-speed connections used by large organisations, which also form the data highways of the UK’s mobile and broadband networks.

These new regulations will apply to BT from April 2021 until March 2026. To read Ofcom’s Statement in full, click here.

Under the new regulations, Ofcom has prohibited geographic pricing for some services to address its concern that Openreach could use targeted discounts to undermine new alternative network build. Openreach can apply for consent to use different geographic prices where this would otherwise be prohibited. Ofcom has also published a consultation on existing Openreach full fibre offers with geographic pricing. The consultation is open until 29 April 2021. To access the consultation, click here.