Gloves come off in telecom legal battle over fibre networks

Billy Bambrough
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The telecoms industry is fiercely competitive and the likes of Sky, Vodafone, and TalkTalk have been lobbying for BT's Openreach to be broken off from the company (Source: Getty)

TalkTalk has criticised CityFibre’s decision to challenge Ofcom over fibre network access.

Yesterday alternative network provider CityFibre complained to the competitions watchdog that new Ofcom rules allowing rival service providers such as Sky and Vodafone to connect their own equipment to parts of the Openreach infrastructure network – known as dark fibre – would prevent it from growing its own network.

“CityFibre’s appeal against dark fibre is nothing more than self-serving litigation,” said TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding.

“Businesses are crying out for increased competition to deliver the affordable Ethernet access they need. We agree with Ofcom that opening up wholesale dark fibre presents a huge opportunity for more connectivity and innovation.”

In February BT narrowly avoided being forced to spin off Openreach into a separate company by the industry regulator.

Ofcom has said BT must open up its network to competitors and reform Openreach "to better serve UK customers and businesses", but it stopped short of insisting it would have to carve up the company - for now.

The regulator said it wanted Openreach, the division of BT that maintains the UK’s largest phone and broadband network on behalf of competing providers, to open up its telegraph poles and ‘ducts’ to enable rival providers will be able to build their own fibre networks, connected directly to homes and offices.

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