Britain allows BT to offer wholesale fibre broadband discounts

FILE PHOTO: Company's logo is displayed at British Telecom (BT) headquarters in London, Britain, November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's telecoms regulator Ofcom said on Wednesday it would allow BT to offer new discounted wholesale fibre pricing to broadband providers as it did not consider the scheme to be anti-competitive.

BT, the country's largest broadband and mobile operator, wants to offer discounts to its wholesale customers including Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk in return for moving customers to the national fibre network it is building.

The discount plan, called Equinox 2, was opposed by competing network companies such as Virgin Media O2 and new fibre builders known as "alt nets".

"Our overriding objective is to bring better broadband to people across the UK, by promoting competitive investment in high-speed networks and making sure there's a level playing field for all companies," an Ofcom spokesperson said.

"With this in mind, and based on the evidence available to us, we don't consider (BT) Openreach's new pricing discounts to be anti-competitive."

Ofcom delayed its final decision on the plan in March after concerns were raised over BT's boss saying the company's fibre network expansion would "end in tears" for some of its competitors.

The regulator said it needed more time to consider the large number of responses it had received to its consultation.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton)

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