Statement: Promoting investment and competition in fibre networks – Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26
- Start: 06 November 2020
- Status: Statement published
- End: 08 December 2020
Statement published 18 March 2021
This statement sets out Ofcom’s decisions for our regulation of the fixed telecoms markets that underpin broadband, mobile and business connections, for the period from April 2021 to March 2026. These decisions are designed to promote competition and investment in gigabit-capable networks – bringing faster, better broadband to people across the UK.
In the context of our consideration of the level of Openreach’s proposed prices under its Equinox 2 offer, we have been responding to questions from stakeholders on the bottom-up cost model for deploying a fibre network developed for the WFTMR (the ‘2021 Cost Model’). We have uncovered two formula errors in the non-confidential version of the model that was published alongside the 2021 WFTMR statement. These errors occurred as part of the conversion of our working confidential model into a non-confidential version for publication.
The errors only affect the published non-confidential version and do not exist in the confidential version of the model used to produce the cost estimates for the WFTMR statement. Therefore, they have no impact on our decisions in the WFTMR statement, or the cost ranges discussed in the Equinox 2 consultation.
However, in the interests of transparency, we have published corrected versions of the affected modules. The two formula errors are as follows:
- Rows 9612 to 19211 in the ‘Calc_Infrastructure’ tab of the Infrastructure Module calculate how much Segment 2 fibre cable is deployed at each postcode sector over time. In the confidential version of the model, the formulae for the second and subsequent years is different to the formula for the first year, to account for fibre built in previous years. In the non-confidential version, this is not the case, resulting in both fibre and duct costs being overstated. We have corrected the formulae to match those in the confidential version of the module.
- Row 43 in the ‘Deployment profiles’ tab of the Volumes Module refers to commercially sensitive information on BT state funded build. This information was removed from the non-confidential version, but the formula still refers to the information. This results in a cell reference error. Therefore, the formula in the non-confidential version has been corrected to avoid a reference error.
On 14 December 2022, Openreach notified us of new pricing arrangements that it intends to put in place from 1 April 2023 (‘Equinox 2’) and on the same day published ACCN OR828 and associated customer briefing NGA2018/22 which sets out the terms of the offer. These arrangements apply to the pricing of Openreach’s fibre to the premises network access products in the Wholesale Local Access market.
Openreach’s notification was made pursuant to the requirement imposed in the Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review statement for Openreach to give 90 days’ notice of changes to the charges, terms or conditions on which it provides network access, or any charges for new network access, where the price or other contractual conditions are conditional on the volume and/or range of services purchased. This requirement was imposed to address concerns around Openreach’s ability to use wholesale pricing structures to deter new network build by alternative network operators.
We will now consider whether the notified offer raises competition concerns requiring ex ante intervention and reach a provisional view.
If we consider that there are competition concerns that we should address by issuing a direction to BT, we would consult on the proposed direction in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions (Section 49A, Communications Act 2003).
If we instead reach the view that there are no substantive concerns requiring ex ante intervention, it would be open to us to announce that we are closing our review at that point. However, in light of the contested nature of Openreach’s previous Equinox offer, we also intend to publish a consultation on any provisional view that we should take no further action.
In either case, we expect to publish a consultation in late January/early February 2023 and stakeholders will have 30 days to respond.
Following consultation, our aim would be to publish a final statement before the offer comes into effect.
Should stakeholders have any queries in relation to the offer itself, they should contact Openreach directly.
Should stakeholders need to contact the Ofcom team, they can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- SMP Condition 8.6. This applies in relation to certain of our defined markets, including WLA Area 2 and WLA Area 3.
- We discuss the analytical framework we will apply and provide guidance on specific types of terms at Volume 3, Section 7 of the WFTMR Statement (see in particular paragraphs 7.154-7.172), and discuss the applicable process at paragraph A11.8 of Annex 11.
Ofcom has today issued minor Modifications to the SMP conditions (PDF, 260.7 KB), together with a note explaining those modifications (PDF, 113.1 KB).
An unofficial consolidated version of the SMP conditions (PDF, 1.8 MB), which incorporates the modifications published on 31 March 2021 and those of 15 July 2021 has also been published today, for reasons of transparency.
Ofcom has today issued a Modification to the SMP conditions (PDF, 426.8 KB) and Direction 4 of the Quality of Service Directions. This is also available with the changed marked up (PDF, 385.8 KB).
We have published a statement explaining the Modification (PDF, 192.7 KB).
Updates, clarifications and corrections
Update 6 November 2020 – further consultation on proposed remedies
We have today published a further consultation (PDF, 494.8 KB) on some changes to our proposed remedies, which we have made following responses to our January 2020 consultation.
The closing date of this consultation is 8 December 2020. We expect to publish our final decision relating to the wholesale fixed telecoms market review by 31 March 2021.
Update 30 September 2020 – further clarification
In response to a query from Openreach, we have today published a clarification (PDF, 171.9 KB) on our proposed approach to setting prices for dark fibre services.
Update 12 May 2020 – follow-up to clarification published on 1 May 2020
In response to a stakeholder's query, we have today published a follow-up clarification (PDF, 159.2 KB) to that published on 1 May 2020 in relation to our Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review consultation.
Update 1 May 2020 – further clarifications
In response to a stakeholder's query, we have today published further clarifications (PDF, 146.6 KB) to our Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review consultation.
Update 30 April 2020 – extended deadline for responses
The original deadline for responses to these proposals was 1 April 2020, but with the coronavirus pandemic bringing significant challenges to the telecoms industry, we announced on 24 March that all consultation deadlines had been suspended until further notice.
Since then, we have remained in close contact with industry. Many companies have adapted to new ways of working and have a clearer picture of their capacity to contribute to this review. We are therefore confident that stakeholders should be in a position to finalise their responses shortly.
We are now accepting responses to the consultation up to 22 May 2020, including any new information which organisations that have already responded wish to provide.
Update 10 March 2020 – clarification on Area 2
In response to a stakeholder's query, we have today published a clarification on Area 2 (PDF, 200.2 KB) to our Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review consultation.
Update 28 February 2020 – corrections and clarifications
We have today published corrections and clarifications to our Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review consultation.
|[Response to November consultation] BUUK (PDF File, 144.3 KB)
|[Response to November consultation] CityFibre (PDF File, 538.2 KB)
|[Response to November consultation] CityFibre (Annex 1) (MS Excel Document, 111.8 KB)
|[Response to November consultation] Community Fibre (PDF File, 144.2 KB)
|[Response to November consultation] County Broadband (PDF File, 178.9 KB)