INCA is frustrated by the preliminary view Ofcom has outlined in its consultation on BT Openreach’s Equinox 2 proposals. INCA is clear in its analysis of Equinox 2 that the scheme deliberately threatens competitiveness and makes it harder for new entrants to compete in the full fibre market.
INCA believes that, should Ofcom fail to block Equinox 2, £20bn of investment will be at risk, significantly slowing progress towards the roll out of full fibre connectivity broadband to all parts of the UK. In effect, a decision not to block Equinox 2 runs contrary to the Government’s policy of creating and maintaining a competitive market for broadband services in the UK.
Despite the combative comments made by the BT Chief Executive this week, which make the company’s monopolistic desires perfectly clear, Ofcom seems not to realise that through this proposal, BT Openreach is attempting to re-establish the monopoly it enjoyed in the copper market over the country’s full fibre future, which left the UK languishing at the bottom of international full fibre league tables. If the company is doing as well as Philip Jansen wants the markets to believe it is, price cutting can only be aimed at killing the competition.
It is abundantly clear that the best way to get networks built quickly and to ensure low prices for consumers in the long-term is to maintain a competitive wholesale broadband market. Should Ofcom fail to block the Equinox 2 proposal, it will be acting against that objective. INCA will engage with Ofcom’s consultation process and hopes that Ofcom will think carefully about the serious damage which will be inflicted on the UK’s proposed full fibre broadband roll out before making a final decision on whether to approve or decline BT Openreach’s self-interested and anti-competitive proposals.