Following a ruling last month by the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) that national regulator Ofcom had erred in an earlier attempt to oblige Openreach to further open up its dark fibre facilities to competitors, BT’s infrastructure organisation has now declared a moratorium on the launch of Dark Fibre Access (DFA). In a statement, Openreach wrote: “We do not intend to launch Dark Fibre Access (DFA) on 1 October 2017 or notify launch terms and conditions including pricing for DFA at the end of August/early September 2017”.
This drew the following response from CityFibre’s Director of Strategy and Policy, Mark Collins: “After Ofcom’s flawed regulatory efforts in the BCMR (Business Connectivity Market Review) were overturned by the CAT, there is no legal basis to mandate the introduction of a regulated dark fibre product. Therefore, Openreach’s decision not to proceed with a dark fibre offering is not a surprise.”
“As one of the UK’s largest suppliers of dark fibre infrastructure, CityFibre’s growth and proven ability to attract investment, demonstrates that the competitive market for business connectivity, including commercial supply of dark fibre, is alive and well and not in need of disproportionate and unnecessary regulatory interference,” added Collins. “Rather than continuing to drive increased dependency on Openreach, we suggest that Ofcom goes back to the drawing board to focus on delivering more appropriate and proportionate remedies that help meet its own strategic objectives to support increased competitive investment in full fibre for the UK”.