Phone line and broadband customers could see cheaper prices following the latest Ofcom assault on the access pricing regime that covers the BT network, which most of the industry relies upon to deliver services.
The regulator is already carrying out a consultation on reducing the prices BT charges competitors for accessing its wholesale fibre broadband network. It has now started a similar consultation into the traditional copper network that delivers landline and standard broadband services.
Both moves are designed to make it easier and cheaper for rivals to access the wholesale network, which should mean cheaper service charges for businesses and consumers, said Ofcom.
Under Ofcom proposals prices would be set by charge controls linked to inflation (measured under the consumer price index, or CPI). "This form of regulation provides an incentive for BT to make efficiency gains,” said Ofcom.
Ofcom is consulting on charge controls on annual rental charges paid by telecoms companies to BT, which would come into effect on 1 April 2014 and run until 31 March 2017.
In real terms, said Ofcom, reductions in prices paid could be up to 12 percent per connection every year up to 2017, depending on the CPI at the time and which service is provided.
After the consultation any changes will come into effect next spring.