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Ofcom signs off on BT unit Openreach's Equinox 2 scheme pricing in UK

24th May 2023 08:51

(Alliance News) - BT Group PLC unit Openreach's Equinox 2 scheme has overcome a potential regulatory hurdle.

Ofcom, the UK regulator for the broadcast and telecommunications industries, on Wednesday said it will not prevent network cabling and wiring service provider Openreach from introducing its new pricing offer for full-fibre broadband, Equinox 2.

"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," Ofcom said.

Ofcom said it does not believe the new pricing discounts to be "anti-competitive", and has no concerns that warrant further investigation.

In December, Openreach published plans to offer lower wholesale prices to other internet providers for access to its fibre network, but the move saw network rivals raise competition concerns. It announced plans to offer discounted rates on its fibre broadband products as part of its Equinox 2 scheme.

At the beginning of February, Ofcom had said its provisional view was that it should not intervene with Openreach's plan. Ofcom invited responses to its consultation by March 4 and planned to publish its final decision before the end of March.

A month later, the regulator warned it was considering delaying the planned launch of Equinox 2 on April 1, and needed more time to make its final decision.

On Wednesday, an Ofcom spokesperson said: "Openreach has informed us that - in response to concerns raised - it plans to make certain commitments regarding its future conduct, including not having any current plans to change its Equinox 2 rental prices and no intention to initiate further changes until at least 31 March 2026.

"This may provide further clarity for altnets and their investors. However, we have not relied on these commitments in reaching our conclusions."

Bt shares were up 0.2% at 148.75 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News senior markets reporter

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