Openreach flutters eyelashes at rivals and lowers wholesale rates

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UK fibre provider Openreach is looking to play nice with rivals by slashing its wholesale fees for its FTTP and FTTC services.

The company said this would help the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen to upgrade its customers from copper based services for cheaper.

In some cases, wholesale pricing could be reduced by 40 percent. Earlier this year UK regulator Ofcom imposed caps on how much Openreach could charge rivals for accessing its network.

By reducing access costs, it is hoped the majority of the UK's homes and businesses could be using super and ultrafast services within five years. In return, these service providers must agree to increasing their customer numbers over a three or five year period.

Around 10 million homes and businesses are currently using superfast broadband on the Openreach network but the company noted these services could be accessed by almost 28 million premises.

Clive Selley, CEO Openreach, said: “We’ve invested more than £11 billion 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.”

The change comes as Ofcom announced fresh measures to increase competition in the UK fibre broadband market. It suggested deregulating in certain parts of the country to help create conditions to bring fibre to remote areas.

It is also planning to extend the period of market reviews from three years to five years. Ofcom said longer durations of regulation would help provide more certainty for investors.

Earlier this week, the UK government announced plans to overhaul the broadband to make up for lost ground on other European countries.