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Author Topic: Government Mulls Regional Franchises to Boost Full Fibre Broadband  (Read 510 times)


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A newspaper report has claimed that the UK government’s on-going ‘Telecoms Infrastructure Review‘ is giving serious consideration to the old idea of adopting regional franchises, which they claim might help boost the coverage of “full fibre” (FTTH/P) broadband, particularly in rural areas.

At present it’s widely known that both the Government and Ofcom are deeply dissatisfied with Openreach’s (BT) commitment toward ultrafast 1Gbps capable “full fibre”. The operator intends to rollout FTTP to 3 million premises by 2020 and they’re also trying to figure out how to meet an aspiration of 10 million premises by around 2025, which is very difficult the regulatory baggage they’ve been forced to carry (some of the key regulatory or market changes being proposed by Openreach may not come to pass).

As a result the government appears to be considering the possibility of regional franchises. According to The Telegraph (paywall), discussions are at an early stage and have already recognised the potential for “major hurdles,” including concerns that “creating regional monopolies could bring new complications and problems similar to those suffered on the rail network since its franchise system was introduced.”

What do people think of this idea?

..and more importantly, if you don't think it's a good idea, what do you suggest?

The full fibre issue needs to be solved one way or another or we WILL be left behind on our current technology. The case for full fibre as now been won with all the main players in the industry agreeing that is where we need to head to. Now it is just about getting there.
BT Infinity 2 - Smart Hub 6 - ECI Cab


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Re: Government Mulls Regional Franchises to Boost Full Fibre Broadband
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2018, 02:25:44 AM »

The case for more fibre has always been there though its a long term one - as I have said elsewhere most consumers don't care by what technology, their service is actually delivered,

This proposal, however, is a bad idea.

For starters:

1) it would create regional monopolies, which will in effect restrict competition and service offerings.;
2) it would face years of legal action - as other infrastructure operators challenged this;
3) what would happen to existing networks in specific regions or those networks own plans to expand?

Much better would be to have much more sensible regulation - not just focused on price - and instead rewarding investment,  including:

- sunset ADSL especially ADSL LLU;
- abolish Market A/B pricing;
- allow Openreach to include pension costs in their pricing;
- provide an economic incentive for providers to roll out fibre, including a period of exclusivity if needed; and
- accept that higher prices might be the case initially.