BT share price: Ofcom unveils plans to ‘open up’ Openreach

Move to make it cheaper for telco’s rivals to connect own fibre broadband directly

BT share price: Ofcom unveils plans to ‘open up’ Openreach

Ofcom has set out plans to improve access to the infrastructure of BT Group’s (LON:BT.A) network division Openreach, the industry watchdog has said. The move will make it easier for the telco’s rivals to connect their own fibre broadband directly to homes and offices.

BT’s share price has been steady in today’s session, having added 0.22 percent to 312.18p as of 14:28 BST, slightly outperforming the broader London market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.08 percent higher at 7,120.37 points. The group’s shares have lost more than 28 percent of their value over the past year, and are down by just under 15 percent in the year-to-date.

Ofcom announced in a statement today that it had set out detailed plans for improving access to Openreach’s infrastructure. The plans are intended to make it easier for BT’s rivals to build their own fibre networks using the unit’s existing telegraph poles and ‘ducts,’ or the small underground tunnels that carry telecoms cables.

The proposals include access on fair terms, meaning that providers should be able to lay fibre using BT’s ducts and poles as easily as the former telecoms monopoly, while the cost for providing this access should be spread across all users. Openreach will further have to repair faulty infrastructure and clear blocked tunnels, while BT should ensure capacity is available on its telegraph poles.

“This will put other providers on a level playing field with BT, so they have the confidence to invest in their own full-fibre networks,” Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Competition Policy Director, commented in the statement.

Openreach is currently in the process of legal separation from BT which has been under regulatory pressure to improve the division’s performance. The FTSE 100 group is scheduled to update investors on its fourth-quarter performance on May 11.

As of 14:50 BST, Thursday, 20 April, BT Group plc share price is 312.05p.

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