This document is a consultation on our analysis of the state of competition in the Wholesale Local Access ("WLA") market, and the measures that we are proposing to address concerns over the degree of competition in that market.
These proposals matter for consumers because ultimately they will affect the price, choice and availability of critically important retail services, such as current broadband and traditional voice services. However, the WLA market directly concerns services provided between different communications providers ("CPs"). Our proposals also matter because they are intended to promote competition and investment in new super-fast' broadband networks, in the important early stages of development for such networks.
The WLA market concerns fixed telecommunications infrastructure - the physical connection between a consumer's premises and the local telephone exchange. This connection is needed to support fixed line services such as voice calls and broadband internet access. The cost of this connection therefore affects the prices that consumers pay for those services. Also, if this connection fails then consumers' services will fail. The WLA market is therefore critical to all fixed line services.
In reviewing this market we are seeking to establish whether there is sufficient competition in the supply of fixed telecommunications connections. Our ultimate goal in this market review is to protect consumers' interests by using regulation to promote competition and choice in the delivery of fixed line telecommunications services. This will help to ensure that consumers do not have to pay excessive prices for those services, and that they benefit from innovation and investment.