Ofcom says BT’s ducts will have to be opened up to other providers soon, which will mean cheaper leased lines for UK businesses.
Ofcom made its position crystal clear when it proposed changes to the way that Openreach, owned by BT, is regulated.
The BBC reported that BT is happy to let other companies use its ducts if they also invest in the UK infrastructure.
Opening up access will certainly make leased line pricing more competitive which is good news for businesses in Worthing and Brighton.
At the moment, other leased line providers have to obtain permission (wayleaves) from councils and landowners to dig new ducts which can cause months of delay. So, for many businesses, the only choice is BT.
Gary Jowett, from Computer & Network Consultants in Brighton, explains: “The problem is, BT charges a significantly higher price for leased lines which can be a deterrent for many Sussex businesses. What Ofcom’s proposing is good news as it will certainly bring down prices.”
However, it could take some time before all providers can compete on a level playing field, which is no good to a business that needs a leased line installed in the next few weeks.
The attractions of a leased line often outweigh the cost of installing one for an expanding business because it’s your own fibre superhighway direct to the exchange. Additionally, it comes with a service level agreement (SLA) that imposes hefty penalties if the service is disrupted in any way.
After leasing the line for three years, businesses are usually offered a significant discount when their contract comes up for renewal. The provider has already covered the cost of installing the leased line and wants to give businesses an incentive to keep using it.
For those businesses in Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Kent who decide to wait for access to BT’s ducts to be opened up for other providers, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with an independent IT consultant who has a sound knowledge of leased line providers and the prices they’re charging. Some businesses pick up the phone to the first big company they see on the internet such as Computacenter. However, there are many more local providers with a great deal of in-depth knowledge.
As competition for customers becomes more lively, it’s likely that BT will have to make some attractive offers to customers and their competitors will respond in kind. The cost of a leased line is set to become much more affordable to many more businesses across the South East.