back to article Ofcom mulls BT Openreach price hike

After months of lobbying, BT has got its wish. Ofcom today announced it will formally consider letting Openreach raise the prices it charges BT's competitors for wholesale access to local exchanges. BT has been crying foul over Openreach because its costs have increased alongside greater competition in broadband from local …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mad idea

    Why not turn the monopoly into a public not-for-profit entity, one that's mandate is to turn Britain into a forward thinking 21st Century country.

    Rather than making a profit, the budget could include expansion of the network country-wide, thus keeping costs down while maximising customer-facing benefits.

  2. Steven Hewittt

    @ Mad Idea

    Um, there once was a "British Telecom" who did that. Ask Mrs. Thather about that one..... :-)

  3. Lol Whibley

    @ mad idea

    that *was sarcasm, right?

    i don't know what the buy-back costs for the government would be but the last thing we need is a bunch of popularity-based career-folk defining the direction the comms infra structure takes in this country.

    or am I being sarcastic now?

    oh, bugger.

  4. Daniel Jones

    @ Steven Hewitt

    Indeed. Except it was the GPO, not British Telecom.

    British Telecom is what the milk snatcher called the privatised bit of the GPO.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Daniel Jones

    Yes, but at least when she flogged it off, the private sector actually invested, rather than the govt. siphoning the money off and leaving decades all infrastructure in place instead of upgrading. The private sector does big business a hell of a lot better than any govt. with it's agendas does.

  6. Les Matthew

    @@Daniel Jones

    "Yes, but at least when she flogged it off"

    Don't you mean, when she gave it away for a fraction of its value?

  7. Tim99 Silver badge

    @Steven Hewitt

    I preferred it when it was the office of the Postmaster General (PMG). Then, you had no doubt whatsoever that it was part of the governance and social fabric of the UK. The PMG's employees were considered a part of the Civil Service.

    When I worked in the Civil Service in the 1970s, staff were instructed to report to the nearest Post Office if they were unable to get to work (Say, as a result of transport strikes or inclement weather.). I did once, they gave me a cup of tea, asked me to count some stationary, and then sent me home.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    "Private sector BT invested" ???

    Excuse me?

    If you wanted broadband on your exchange and BT didn't see it as a guaranteed moneymaker, they offered punters the opportunity to pay the full costs to BT and a sponsoring ISP and then BT would deign to install it. How much "investment" from BT did that take ? None. (This was called Exchange Activate).

    If you've followed broadband closely since the days when Home 1000 broadband wholesale was first introduced by BT, you'll know that at any given time, up to 30% of exchanges had insufficient bandwidth back to BTwholesale's networks (the infamous "red" and "amber" VP situation). Why was that? Because of insufficient INVESTMENT by the privatised BT.

    And the real giveaway? No ADSL2+ from BT for most of the UK now, whereas other ISPs have had it for a year or three. Why ? Because of insufficient INVESTMENT by the privatised BT.

    If you've got to have a privatised monopoly (which is what BT Retail/BTwholesale/BT Openreach are), it *has* to be competently regulated, and that clearly hasn't been happening here.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Isn't that what OFCOM already is ... ?

    "but the last thing we need is a bunch of popularity-based career-folk defining the direction the comms infra structure takes in this country."

    Lets start by making everybody at OFCOM be replaced by enduser-elected people with the guts to PROPERLY abolish 0870 and its derivatives, rolling contracts, misleading "introductory offers" that make price comparison difficult and the other abuses that telcos are introducing as a way of confusing rather than improving the market.

  10. b

    BT are gangsters!

    people have been talking about unbundling the local loop for AT LEAST eight years.

    "BT" are not going to give up ANYTHING unless forced.

    competition is good, monopoly's are NOT.

    i say force BT to give up it's monopoly of the exchanges and give us some real broadband provision competition, AT LAST!

  11. William Morton
    Thumb Down

    Let's have it back for the original selling price

    BT have a monopoly on comms in this country, yes there other providers but they only exist in the cities. BT Openreach should either be broken up on a regional basis or bought back for the orginal selling price that the tory's sold it their mates for.

    If Openreach can show they have lost any money from what they have invested they can have that back too ( the amount they have raped from us since "privatisation" should cover any investment a million fold)

    As an after thought for those who did not know "Tory" is an Irish word meaning "bog trotter" or thief, they did what it said on the tin and are still proud of it. The current Goverment is just Tory policy with a red label over the top

  12. William Morton
    Thumb Down

    As an afterthought may be BT stands for bog trotter too

    see above

  13. Anonymous Coward

    @ BT are gangsters!

    And why exactly should BT surrender its exchanges? Lets remember, BT or one of its predecessors paid to build them and continue to pay to maintain them and invest in new equipment including DSLAMs and MSANs. Do you really think any other organisations would be willing o carry on with this?

  14. Joel

    The only game in town....

    The reason BT has a monopoly in rural areas is because the other players do not deem it worth their while to unbundle the exchange. It is precisely because BT was a monopoly that it had the Universal Service Obligation for providing phone lines.

    Other providers prefer to cherry pick the most profitable areas, leaving the remainder to moulder away. Competition only tends to benefit the urban areas who get increased choice. Rural areas are left with the only provider who will provide a service, and it took a long time for that to arrive in the first place! There are still not-spots which are not able to get ADSL at all.

    You see similar problems in poor urban areas which food retailers have abandoned which increases the costs of shopping for those who can least afford it.

    The original point of monopolies (as awarded by governments) was to provide security to an investor to make them prepared to invest for something other than the short term. Why would BT spend millions installing fibre optic across the country if they immediately had to unbundle it to all comers?

    Either offer them a monopoly for 10 or 20 years, to get the fibre installed, give all players in the market a universal service obligation (unbundle one, unbundle all) or, decide that the national infrastructure requires investment by the taxpayer, and create a national telecoms grid, owned by the state, and offering wholesale access to all players. That way, we might get the fibre that is needed.

    The benefits of faster access to rural areas can also help on a national basis - teleworking becomes more practical if you can get 100Mbps to the office - this reduces congestion, carbon and many other things deemed to be to the public good, but not necessarily adding to the bottom line of BT or any other telecoms provider.

    After the infrastructure is in, we have the potential to privatise another utility, but at least we have it.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    "invest in new equipment including DSLAMs and MSANs".

    "BT ... continue to pay to maintain them and invest in new equipment including DSLAMs and MSANs. Do you really think any other organisations would be willing o carry on with this?"

    Utter tripe.

    First, pop over to and see who's LLU'd your exchange, or any random exchange of your choice. If it does have LLU (which not everyone will, and we'll come back to that, but 70% of exchanges currently do), there'll probably be around four companies besides BT who are "investing in DSLAMs and MSANs", installed in the BT exchanges and connected with BT wires but using LLU kit and bandwidth for everything else besides BT Openreach's "local loop". And the services the LLU ISPs are able to provide are, and will be, years ahead of what BTwholesale are, and will be, able to offer to BT-based ISPs.

    Second, there's the long-awaited and much over-hyped 21CN. It turns out that 21CN isn't actually about investing in improved services, it's about reducing operational costs (primarily staff, there's a surprise).

    The big thing that BT did get nearly right was near-universal coverage (let's ignore the notspots and Exchange Activate, shall we?). But even that's about to vanish.

    The total lack of effective regulation and in particular Ofcon's recent crazy decision to explicitly deregulate many geographic areas of the UK broadband market [1], together with the incompetent way BTw have been allowed to introduce its next-generation broadband (Wholesale Broadband Connect, WBC) with an interconnect pricing scheme unattractive to all but the largest ISPs (eg BT Retail) [2], are going to reverse the concept of broadband available at a single nationally uniform price from the ISP of your choice. In areas where there is no LLU presence (ie the 30% of exchanges which aren't financially interesting for LLU), it will soon be back to a BT monopoly from end to end, and the price won't be pretty at all (eg a £10/month "non-LLU surcharge" is already common from ISPs who currently offer both, and with BT WBC it'll get worse not better), because the price will solely reflect the costs of the most expensive areas.

    First against the wall when the revolution comes? I certainly hope so.


    [2] WBC is offered on a geographic basis. A BTw-based ISP who wants to continue to offer national coverage the same way as they do today has to pay (lots) for multiple interconnects between the ISP's own network and each of BTwholesale's geographic WBC areas. In contrast, today's setup charges a BT-based ISP pretty much the same regardless of where the end user or the ISP is, and the LLU ISPs just pick areas that are cheap and convenient (ie profitable).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @mad idea

    BT Isn't just a telco these days, it like to think of itself as a global 24/7 IT Service organisation, or have you missed the Gremlins, god I wish I had.

  17. Jeff

    Don't like BT, then go to cable providers

    All you folks who don't like BT, should just bugger off and go to Virgin Media then.

    BT provide and maintain the backbone of the telecoms infrastructure in the UK, and they are doing a decent job of keeping it running. Are you online right now? Are you using a telephone? Are these services working at the time of reading this? Most peoples answers to these questions are likely yes, which means you are going through BT's infrastructure to use those services.

    Those services are working and doing their job, so unless anyone else can come up with the capital to upgrade the networks in the UK (i.e. fiber), they should either put up or shut up.

  18. William Morton

    @ jeff

    I do not live in a city and hence there is no option but to use BT openreach. You go on about how happy I should be that my comms are not broken as well as expensive. Allow me to remind you that the tax payer paid for BT's infrastructure before it was privised. Further when it comes to new housing do BT use new technology or go for the cheapest solution possible? thats right they go for the same cheap ass cabling they have been using for over a hundred years.

    BT have not invested a millionth of the profits they have taken from us, and you say I should be happy even though they use the cheapest support people on the planet. They should be made to change their name, the B in BT is clearly false advertising as most of the people you will speak to on their "support lines" dont even speak understandable English.

    If they had cable where I live I would change like a shot, instead I had to have my personal correspondance and banking traffic snooped by BT (google PHORM). This as they dont think they are getting enough money out of me, so don't go on to me about how lucky I am to be forced to use BT kit. When I was a BT retail customer I always had their most expensive BB package, this did not protect me as there is clearly no amount of money that will slake their thirst.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021