The move is intended to lower the cost of fibre network build out for the purposes of delivering commercial broadband and mobile backhaul services

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has passed new guidelines, granting UK telcos unrestricted access to Openreach‘s duct and pole network infrastructure.

The move is intended to increase competition in the UK’s full fibre broadband market and reduce the cost of network build out for Openreach’s competitors.

“The amount of internet data used by people in the UK is expanding by around half every year. So, we’ll need faster, more reliable connections for our homes, offices and mobile networks," said Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s competition group director.

“Our measures are designed to support the UK’s digital future by providing investment certainty for continued competitive investment in fibre and 5G networks across the country.”

Ofcom had previously told Openreach that it must allow duct and pole access to ISPs who provide home broadband service. Today’s ruling will force Openreach to also make its ducts and poles available to ISPs serving large businesses, as well as mobile and broadband network operators.

“This is a huge boost for fibre broadband rollout and will appease most stakeholders. Fibre represents a key foundation for the future digital infrastructure in the UK. More so with the arrival of 5G which will require a bigger pipe in the backhaul to deal with an explosion in data traffic,” said Paolo Pescatore, tech, media and telco analyst at PP Foresight.

In opening up access to Openreach’s network infrastructure, Ofcom is attempting to balance the growing role of Britain’s altnet providers, such as CityFibre, Hyperoptic and Gigaclear, with Openreach’s own ambitious plans to deliver 15 million FTTH connections by the mid 2020s. 


Openreach and Ofcom will both be attending the Connected Britain event in London next month. Held from the 18th-19th June 2019, Connected Britain will bring together the key stakeholders from the UK’s fixed line and mobile connectivity sectors. Click here for a full agenda and to find out how you can be involved in the event.