Supporting investment in ultrafast broadband networks

26 July 2016

Progress Update

In February 2016, we published our Strategic Review of Digital Communications. While the availability and affordability of digital communications services have improved dramatically over the last decade, demand is increasing at such a rate that greater investment will be needed to meet future consumer demands for better quality of service and the latest ultrafast broadband technologies.

We set out a ten-year vision for ensuring the quality and availability of communications services in the UK. This vision includes the UK moving towards a future with widespread availability of competing networks, and the UK being a world leader in the availability and capability of its digital networks.

One of our key proposals is to make a strategic shift to encourage the large-scale deployment of new ultrafast networks, including fibre direct to homes and businesses, as an alternative to the copper-based technologies currently planned by BT. We want to make it easier for telecoms providers to invest in advanced, competing infrastructure by improving duct and pole access (DPA); access to Openreach’s network of telegraph poles and underground tunnels that carry telecoms cables. Competitors will then be able to connect their own fibre optic cables directly to homes and businesses at lower up-front cost.

This progress update highlights areas where we have started to move forward on the practical aspects of ensuring better information and efficient operational processes, by engaging with Openreach and industry. It also looks to the future setting out a number of key milestones for the next 18 months in the implementation of our DPA strategy, including the Wholesale Local Access (WLA) market review, and the Communications (Access to Infrastructure) Regulations 2016.