LONDON (Reuters) – Vodafone, the UK is on the search for the conditions of a move by the regulator Ofcom to relax limits on how much BT can charge for a business fiber connection, it says that it is likely to result in higher costs for businesses, colleges, universities, and hospitals.
FILE PHOTO: A brand mark that is displayed on a Vodafone shop in London, united Kingdom-May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Ofcom have already relaxed price regulation at the heart of London, in a review in 2016, saying that BT is not a significant power on the market.
It is now up to relax the restrictions, in other towns and cities, where BT faces two or more rivals, such as Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.
It is also changing the basis for the price cap on these costs to the basis of a fixed rate for the leased lines, which are in the high-speed data links to offices, mobile base stations, and access to high-speed networks.
Ofcom said that the changes, which were completed in June, will give BT’s competitors have a stronger incentive to build out their own networks.
Vodafone, however, said: “businesses and public sector organisations are faced with the payment of an additional 230 million pounds ($282 million) over the next 20 months, as a result of the changes.
“We are not, by nature, pro-regulation, we strongly believe in the free market, but one company has significant market power, regulators need to be extremely careful before making the final decision to reduce the scope,” Vodafone’s UK general counsel and external affairs director Helen Lamprell, told reporters.
“The effect of Ofcom’s approach to risk permanent damage to, the TRANSMISSION of the digital infrastructure, the transformation on this critical issue.”
The new legislation would also increase the costs of the roll-out of the towers for the new 5G network, ” she said.
Vodafone and rival TalkTalk have filed an appeal with the Competition Appeal Tribunal, on the grounds that the regulator’s decision was not based on evidence as to how the markets work.
It did not, for example, are reflected in the 60% and 70% of the market share of BT in the city of London, ” she said.
An Ofcom spokesman said the rules had been designed to promote investment in high-speed data links, which are of vital interest to the united kingdom to become a world leader in the fiber, and 5G technology.
“This lawsuit threatens to hold back progress for the people and businesses we have been very disappointed by some of the companies that have chosen to be commercial interests above the national interest,” he said.
BT declined to comment.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Jan Harvey