The discount scheme, which is known as the “Equinox” offer, was officially unveiled in July this year, and introduces a major price cut to the incumbents Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband products.
Besides from making Openreach’s products significantly cheaper by around 30 per cent, Equinox also gives those same providers long-term pricing certainty, lasting for 10 years.
The watchdog approved plans, which, in turn, caused significant backlash from rivals.
The likes of CityFibre and Gigaclear have been investing billions to deploy rival FTTP networks, and warned that Openreach’s new discounts might ultimately result in a reduction in competitive fibre infrastructure investment and deployment.
The altnets also urged that lower prices may eventually reduce choice and innovation, and potentially result in higher prices for consumers.
For Ofcom, it is a balancing act between the vested interests of the opposing sides within the industry. As a body it has recognised that “altnets are likely to face stronger competition” as a result of Openreach’s offer, but didn’t believe that this would be a barrier for competition.
The deadline to challenge through the Competition Appeal Tribunal expires at the end of this month, and CityFibre and Gigaclear have officially said they are keeping their options open, implying legal action may be in the works.
More to follow…