BT Should Cut Wholesale Prices to Businesses, U.K. Watchdog Says

BT Group Plc should lower the wholesale prices it charges businesses, schools and libraries who lease lines for high-speed broadband and mobile services, according to the U.K. telecommunications watchdog.

Ofcom on Friday proposed BT lower prices over a three-year period, based on a formula linked to the consumer price index. Consumer mobile and broadband operators, which use BT’s lines to transfer data along their networks, would also see savings that could be passed to customers, the regulator said on Friday.

Last month, Ofcom ruled BT has “significant market power” in the leased-lines market worth 2 billion pounds ($3.1 billion) a year and proposed the company open up more of its network to competitors. BT should give competitors physical access to its fiber-optic cables, allowing them to take direct control of the connections, Ofcom said May 15. This service is commonly called dark fiber, because the fiber-optic cables would be “lit” by competitors’ equipment rather than BT’s.

The regulator’s proposals are subject to a consultation period ending on July 31. The rules that result will take effect in April 2016. BT has said they will hurt network investment.

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