BT told to cut prices and speed up installations

BT must 'significantly' cut prices charged for high-speed lines through its Openreach arm and improve business services under detailed plans outlined by the communications watchdog.

A file photo of a BT worker up a telegraph pole Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
A file photo of a BT worker up a telegraph pole Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ofcom confirmed plans to force BT, which is the owner of the UK’s biggest fixed-line network, to install business lines more quickly and start to reduce prices from May 1.

The draft proposals, which confirm plans first put forward last year, come less than a month after Ofcom told BT it must open up its Openreach network to competitors in its first significant review of the telecoms sector for a decade.

Ofcom wants BT to propose prices and terms for rivals to install their own equipment to use its fibre connections.

It is also aiming to enforce tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations for consumers, clearer information on service quality, and automatic compensation for consumers when services are disrupted.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom competition group director, said: “All of us depend on high-speed, fibre-optic lines. Businesses use them to communicate, and they also underpin the broadband and mobile services used by consumers at home and on the move.

“BT is relied on by many companies to install these lines, and its performance has not been acceptable. These new rules will mean companies across the UK benefit from faster installation times, greater certainty about installation dates, and fast repairs if things go wrong.”