The UK communications watchdog has introduced a set of temporary rules for the business broadband market as it seeks to overcome setbacks to its attempts to stimulate competition.
BT successfully challenged Ofcom’s plan to force a shake-up of the business connectivity market in the Court of Appeal earlier this year after arguing that the regulator had erred in some of its market definitions. That threw Ofcom’s plan into disarray as it faced a lengthy consultation to remedy the court’s findings.
Ofcom has moved instead to introduce temporary regulations in business markets where it believes BT has significant market power. That includes the original plan to introduce charge controls on Openreach, BT’s engineering arm, which the group has resisted.
The regulator has also forged ahead with a plan to force Openreach to introduce ‘dark fibre’ products that allow wholesale customers like Sky and TalkTalk to take control of unlit fibre lines. Ofcom remains determined to introduce dark fibre into the market despite the court setback and Openreach’s opposition.
Matthew Howett, an analyst with Assembly, said that the situation has got “a bit messy” with some elements of the temporary regulation overlapping with consultations the regulator has already kicked off.
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