OPENREACH UK, the infrastructure division of BT, has announced plans to slash its wholesale prices in a bid to connect more premises to 'superfast' fibre broadband.
The discounted prices, which should result in cheaper broadband for consumers but probably won't, cover Openreach's Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (up to 330Mbps) and Fibre-to-the-Premises (up to 1Gbps) services. Openreach will cut prices by up to 40 per cent, it said on Tuesday, to encourage providers to upgrade their customers from predominantly copper-based services.
For example, as noted by the Guardian, the amount Openreach charges rivals for its 80Mbps product will be slashed by 40 per cent from £9.95 to £5.99.
Openreach says that its "win-win" discounts, which will be available to the likes of Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone from 21 August, should see the "vast majority" of Blighty's homes and businesses upgraded onto superfast and ultrafast broadband within five years.
So far, 10 million premises have upgraded to superfast broadband on the Openreach network, but such services are available to almost 28 million British premises.
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said: "We've invested more than 11 billion pounds into our network over the last decade and whilst that's helped the UK become a global digital leader, there are still millions more homes and businesses that could benefit from the better broadband infrastructure we've built.
"This offer is a win/win for Communications Providers, their customers and Openreach. It will help Britain's homes and businesses to experience the benefits of faster and more reliable broadband.
"And it will incentivise our wholesale customers to participate in our long-term investment in digital infrastructure by upgrading more of their customers to superfast and ultrafast services."
Ofcom's uncharacteristically goodwilled announcement comes after the UK gov on Monday announced plans to drive the rollout of ultrafast broadband networks nationwide within 15 years. It's recommending that that full-fibre broadband should be fitted as standard in all new homes, and is calling for reforms to the regulatory environment for full-fibre broadband that will "drive investment and competition".
Blighty is lagging behind many of its European rivals in the race to deliver 1Gbps full-fibre networks, with only 4 per cent of premises currently connected. In comparison, 71 per cent of premises in Spain have access to fibre broadband, as do 89 per cent of premises in Portugal. µ
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