BT’s control over the national infrastructure is blocking competition and stifling innovation, according to an industry group comprised of a dozen British telecoms firms.  

The UK Competitive Telecommunications Association (UKCTA) called on regulator Ofcom to let its members, which includes the likes of Sky, EE, Vodafone and Virgin Media, to lay their own cables in BT’s ducts. 

Image credit: iStock
Image credit: iStock

It also called on Ofcom to let them use their own equipment to power BT’s fibre and hold its infrastructure arm, Openreach, to higher standards.

“[Ofcom] has now moved from competition to intrusive sector-specific consumer protection measures, often duplicating general consumer protection measures,” said the industry body. “UKCTA calls on Ofcom to return its focus to championing competition.”

BT said: “The UK has a vibrant wholesale business connectivity market, with strong competition and innovation amongst a large number of providers... forcing Openreach to offer access to its ducts or dark fibre would increase costs and add extra complexity to way UK businesses are served.”

Ofcom said: “We make no apology for protecting consumers... that work goes hand-in-hand with promoting competition.”

The entrepreneurs behind one of the UK's most successful apps slammed BT last August for taking too long to activate connections, while a Tesco-backed startup hub next to Tower Bridge said it was forced to run off EE's 4G dongles while waiting for BT to install broadband.