Broadband: Competition

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 22nd October 2021.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Conservative, Epsom and Ewell

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether British Telecom is permitted to offer full fibre broadband before other providers when it is installed in a geographic area; and what steps she plans to take to help ensure that no provider gains a competitive advantage after an installation.

Photo of Julia Lopez Julia Lopez Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Minister of State

Ofcom, as the independent regulator for telecoms, is responsible for regulating market power in the telecoms sector. Ofcom imposes a “no undue discrimination” requirement - which means Openreach must offer equivalence between all providers using its infrastructure unless Openreach is able to demonstrate that this is not possible.

If Openreach is able to demonstrate this, any difference must not put network users at a disadvantage, particularly in terms of extra cost, time or uncertainty compared to Openreach. Therefore, British Telecom is not permitted to offer full fibre broadband before other providers and it is Ofcom’s responsibility to ensure no provider gains an unfair competitive advantage after an installation.

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