back to article Vodafone hurls sueball at Ofcom over plans to relax BT leases

Vodafone has lobbed a sueball at UK comms regulator Ofcom for relaxing regulation of BT's wholesale fibre leases - a move it claims could cost British businesses £230m. Both Vodafone and TalkTalk have lodged an appeal against Ofcom's change in regulations with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the mobile operator's legal …

  1. theblackhand Silver badge

    "The problem is [that] in [the] business market, there is a massive disincentive for businesses to switch," she said. Around 97 per cent of businesses are on the BT/Openreach infrastructure and most are reluctant to change because of the disruption involved"

    You mean the cost of BT and the pain working with BT sales reps isn't sufficient incentive? What would you like? The Spanish Inquisition? And yes, that will be an additional charge...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The alternatives being Vodafone and TalkTalk? Really? Just how much pain can you bear?

    2. IGotOut

      Ever tried getting lines fixed when they were originally on a carrier they bought out e.g C&W / Thus?

      If not may I introduce you to computer says no he'll.

  2. Barrie Shepherd

    "Ofcom said at the time "It did not want to set the wrong incentives by making access to BT's existing network a more attractive commercial proposition than building new networks where this is feasible."

    I would hazard a guess that it is not "feasible" in over 60 of the country.

    This proposal can only increase the cost and/or reduce competition for the majority of the country as it will never be cost effective for multiple carriers to all build their own physical links in low density areas.

    OFCOM should focus on getting the fastest, lowest cost, reliable communications to end users not worry about how the players in the middle arrange their back-hauls or some misplaced view that they should force individual players to spend money on costly infrastructure that in all probability will be underused - particularly as the nice 5G elevated masts will allow a lot of traffic to be moved to the ether rather than the fibre.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      "Ofcom said at the time "It did not want to set the wrong incentives by making access to BT's existing network a more attractive commercial proposition than building new networks where this is feasible."

      But surely a better way to achieve this is to get the government to change the business rates calculation for non-BT ducts and cables.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That would mean Ofcom setting rules that would tend to create or entrench a monopoly. It means slighlly lower costs now, but in the longer term it tends to stifle innovation as it makes it always cheaper to lease than build.

      To see the effects of how that plays out, look at the relatively slow progress in the rollout of FTTP. Regulation has held down last mile prices for copper access types from Openreach which means the U.K. has very good pricing on metallic broadband but the business case for investing millions or billions in fibre then becomes harder to make.

    3. eldakka Silver badge

      This proposal can only increase the cost and/or reduce competition for the majority of the country as it will never be cost effective for multiple carriers to all build their own physical links in low density areas.

      That is true.

      But what's to stop the competitors forming a single joint-venture company that they each are part owners of and contribute to, and have that JV build out and own the physical network?

      Other industries do this, e.g. the banks with SWIFT.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "But what's to stop the competitors forming a single joint-venture company"

        Having to put their own money up front instead of having BT do it and then getting a regulated price to piggy-back on that. If the banks had had that option available to them would they have built SWIFT?

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "it will never be cost effective for multiple carriers to all build their own physical links in low density areas."

      It will, however, be very cost-effective for multiple carriers if they can get BT to pick up the bill for the areas they don't want to cherry-pick.

  3. Detective Emil
    Facepalm

    "[T]hey have come up with a conclusion based on regulatory policy as opposed to evidence"

    What else would a regulator do?: if they did anything different, they'd get sued for not following policy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone and TalkTalk complaining about being mistreated

    That is a bit rich, isn't it?

  5. TimR

    "...so we’re extremely disappointed some companies have chosen to put commercial interest ahead of the national interest."

    Whilst not wishing to defend any of the players, what the hell does OFCOM expect...?

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