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TalkTalk has broken cover as the first major ISP with plans to use BT's faster broadband infrastructure.

Boss Charles Dunstone said it is preparing packages based on wholesale access to new fibre optics, the FT reports.

The move is not surprising, but is good news for BT, which is investing £2.5bn in fibre-to-the-cabinet and fibre-to-the-premises covering about two-thirds of the country.

In a departure from price controls on access to the current copper infrastructure, Ofcom is allowing BT Wholesale to set its own charges to use the new fibre, to allow it to recoup the investment.

"These prices will be constrained by the highly competitive wider broadband market and will be subject to rules to prevent anti-competitive pricing," the communications regulator said today.

BT Retail has already started marketing its own faster packages under the Infinity brand.

Competitors will be able to offer broadband via fibre through a new arrangement known as Virtual Unbundled Local Access (VULA). Unlike under Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) - which stimulated competition in the copper broadband market - under VULA TalkTalk and others will not install their own equipment in exchanges, but take remote control of the configration of BT's equipment.

The EU has insisted this arrangement must be a temporary solution, and that full LLU must be introduced later to increase competition. ®

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