Telecoms regulator Ofcom yesterday announced new proposals to meet the growing demand for "fast data services” for businesses, as well as ISPs and consumers. The new publication, entitled ‘The Business Connectivity Market Review', takes a looks at the wholesale market for leased lines, currently worth around £2bn.
BT is the largest leased line service provider at the moment and the Ofcom proposals include the maintenance and extension of "existing regulations” on the telecoms company. However, in London, BT faces tougher competition from other providers, so it's proposed that regulation is lighter for the company in the UK capital.
The suggested measure will help to ensure healthy competition in the telecoms market, as well as reduce monopolisation, something which some of the other large telecoms companies have complained about.
This combination of new measures that the paper sets out are designed to ensure that the UK "has a backbone of high speed business networks, capable of supporting not only companies, but also consumer services that ultimately rely on these networks, such as superfast broadband and mobile video streaming”.
For speeds of 1Gbit/s and under, existing regulation will be maintained, which deal with "charge control” and require BT to provide access on a strictly non-discriminatory basis”. Above these speeds outside of London, Ofcom would like to put regulations in place which lessen the ‘significant market power' that BT currently have.
All of these proposals are designed to keep up with growing demand for the consumption of data, especially that reliant on high-speed connections, as well as supporting new technologies such as cloud computing.
"Ofcom's other proposals include:
- a less strict form of price regulation on BT's wholesale Ethernet* prices for services up to 1Gbit/s in London, where there is the prospect of greater competition;
- deregulating the market for longer distance legacy leased lines; and
- requiring BT to provide its regulated Ethernet services on the same basis to all retail providers.”
Ofcom's consultation looks at encouraging competition within the business telecoms market, as well as identifying the best ways which critical fibre networks can best be sustained.