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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ofcom + BT ducts and poles

It seems that once again all may not be as it seems in the telco nextgen finalthird world. Massive sigh of disappointment and frustration.

This blog post can be read at

ISTR, Ofcom announced on October 7th 2010 that BT had to submit a draft reference offer for duct and pole access by mid-Jan 2011. However, on the very same day, the Wholesale Local Access Market Review pretty much scuppered the chances of the draft reference document holding any value.

For instance, use of ducts and poles for fixed wireless access, leased lines, mobile broadband etc is apparently not part of the undertakings being laid on BT's doorstep when permitting duct and pole access, according to the WLA. (You have to read, hop, skip and jump through the doc to get the whole picture).

That sort of wipes out much of the FiWi approach, and would leave the UK without the chance to build a FTTH network with a wireless cloud on top, use existing infrastructure to wireless easily across rural areas without needing to put up new masts, extend mobile coverage using femto cells on poles etc etc etc etc. On a "Let's think out of the box and into the future" front, it appears to be preventing most new network operators from getting close to the game.

What this sort of seems to boil down to, and I may be wrong, is that Ofcom have said, as they seem far too wont to do, "We won't do anything that threatens your SMP or future profits, OhBTWhoFundsUs."

Stuff the communities and consumers who are desperately trying to extricate this country from the enormous comms problems we suffer and to whom Ofcom has a statutory duty. Never mind the new entrants who are champing at the bit with innovative and exciting, low cost and faster to deploy solutions. Hell no, let's not give them a chance to threaten the great god of last century solutions.

Let's not even mention that, on the very same day, we have announced two things which are as near as dammit mutually exclusive. Allow the press to focus on the "BT must give access to ducts and poles" (which a quick Google will show you) and let's not pop the bubble by pointing out that, "Actually, that's not strictly true, oh media peeps, telcos, communities and consumers".

Any mention by Ofcom that they may have tied themselves into a knot? I can't find one. But then finding an Ofcom spokesperson isn't the easiest task, even on a bright, sunny day!

I'd welcome some input on all this as it would be superfine to discover I am mistaken. Meanwhile, over to Broken Telephone to blog there about this issue and follow on from Ian Grant's article on the subject.

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