Insights Ofcom publishes revised proposals on regulating the transition from copper to fibre networks


Ofcom has published revised proposals on how its regulation of Openreach’s copper network should evolve as the company rolls out new fibre broadband services. This is a supplementary consultation to the proposals published in January 2020, which Ofcom says are designed to support competition and investment in faster fibre networks while protecting customers.

In January, Ofcom proposed shifting the focus of its regulation from copper, to support the migration to fibre services. This included allowing Openreach to stop selling new copper services, and then removing the copper charge control, under certain conditions. However, Ofcom proposed maintaining other requirements on Openreach to provide access to its copper services for the period from April 2021 to March 2026.

Given the speed at which Openreach’s fibre rollout is progressing, Ofcom now believes that where there are a limited number of customers remaining on copper services, and there are fibre services available to them, it may be reasonable to withdraw remaining regulations on copper services in some cases before April 2026.

The consultation closes on 26 November and Ofcom intends to publish its final decisions before April 2020 as part of its wholesale fixed telecoms market review statement. To access the revised proposals, click here.