BT's Openreach to build full-fibre internet 'like fury' after Ofcom move

BT has said it will "build like fury" to roll out full-fibre internet connections after new rules announced by the UK's telecoms regulator.

Ofcom has decided not to impose price caps on full-fibre connections provided by the firm's Openreach subsidiary.

This gives the company the certainty it had been looking for ahead of a planned £12bn investment.

However, the decision lays Ofcom open to criticism that is has given a near-monopoly operator a generous deal.

That could mean more expensive internet connections for the public than might have been the case.

Ofcom also froze the price curbs it levels on what Openreach charges internet service providers for its slower copper-based connections.

Openreach lays down and maintains the fibre-optic cables involved as well as operating the associated telephone exchanges, and then sells use of these services to individual internet service providers. They in turn sell access to the public.

The business has said it can now confirm a plan to build fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections to 20 million homes and offices by the mid- to late-2020s.

"Today's regulation will allow us to ramp up to three million premises per year providing vital next generation connectivity for homes and business right across the UK," said Openreach's cheif executive Clive Selley. 

Ofcom's chief executive denied its move would harm consumers.

"It's true we certainly want to make sure that BT can have a fair bet on this investment, but at the core of our approach is that we are trying to get competition into the wholesale network layer, of broadband for the future, really for the first time in quite a new way," Dame Melanie Dawes told BBC Radio Four's Today programme.

"And the reason we believe in competition is we actually think that's best for the consumer. It gives us all more options to choose from, not just on pricing but also on service quality and reliability."

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