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Tuesday 11 December, 2018


Ofcom: Fibre investment - geographic markets

RNS Number : 0048K
Office of Communications
11 December 2018

11 December 2018


Supporting fibre investment: defining geographic markets

As part of long-term plans to support investment in fibre networks, Ofcom has today set out initial views on how to define geographic markets from 2021, when carrying out the next review of wholesale telecoms networks.


Different regulatory approaches in different parts of the country

By spring 2021, we plan to have regulation in place that varies by geographic area. To promote greater certainty for investors, this new regulation will be in place for at least five years.  It will replace Ofcom's Business Connectivity Market Review and our Wholesale Local Access Review.


In the coming years, we expect to see significant investment in new, competing fibre networks. But investment and competition will vary by geography. So we intend to take a flexible approach to regulation, reflecting how many different competing fibre companies are present in a particular geographic area.


Our initial thinking on how our competition assessments and regulation may vary by geography from 2021 are as follows:


·     In competitive areas where there are at least two existing networks in addition to Openreach, we would consider whether these alternative networks make those areas effectively competitive. Where this is the case, we would deregulate.

·     In potentially competitive areas where there is either: (i) at least one alternative network is already present; (ii) an alternative network provider has announced plans to build in the area; or (iii) we consider there is potential for entry, our focus will be on promoting investment and competitive entry.

·     In non-competitive areas where there are no alternative networks and where future network deployment at scale is unlikely, our objectives are to encourage investment by Openreach while protecting consumers from high prices.


We will gather data and deployment plans from operators to map existing and potential future networks. We propose to use a number of criteria to determine areas of the UK where network rollout may be economically viable.


Further details can be found on the Ofcom website:


Next steps

We intend to set out our initial approach to remedies in spring 2019; and by autumn 2019, we plan to consult on a full set of market proposals, including market definition, market power and remedies.



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