UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has given the go-ahead to Openreach’s Equinox 2 discount pricing scheme, despite earlier criticism from smaller network operators that it allows the dominant player to undercut them.
Openreach is the infrastructure division of Britain’s telecoms giant BT, and provides a nationwide network platform for BT’s own services plus other internet service providers (ISPs) such as Sky and TalkTalk.
In line with goals to boost wider uptake of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) or “full-fiber” broadband connections across the country, Openreach has offered incentives to ISPs to encourage new subscribers to opt for FTTP, including discounted wholesale pricing, of which Equinox 2 is the latest incarnation.
Announcing its decision, Ofcom said: “Having carefully assessed the range of evidence available to us – including responses to our public consultation – we have decided not to prevent Equinox 2 from being introduced.”
This is despite the admission that “this offer gives lower prices to retail providers – such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone – if they agree to use mainly Openreach’s full-fiber products for new orders instead of its legacy copper products.”