Feeds

TalkTalk to Ofcom: 'Talented, lovely monopolist' BT must be reeled in

Just how superfast can a one-horse race really be?

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

While broadband minister Ed Vaizey insisted this morning that competition remained active in the dash to grab public sector cash aimed at the deployment of faster fibre networks across Britain, TalkTalk's boss is worried about the lack of rivalry in the business.

National telco BT remains the only operator to have secured funding from the £680m Broadband UK Delivery (BDUK) pot to date. Fujitsu - the only other government-preferred supplier - was effectively blacklisted by the Cabinet Office after being labelled as "high risk". Vaizey's media, culture and sports department (DCMS) confirmed to The Register recently that the Japanese tech giant would be "scrutinised particularly carefully" before being awarded any further work.

It's a move that appeared to bear out critics who say the bid for BDUK funds is being turned into a one-horse race. It's a point not lost on TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding, who was speaking during a panel session at a Huawei-sponsored event in Westminster this morning.

She said that the fibre market was not as "vibrantly competitive as copper," adding:

"We should start to worry about that."

When quizzed by El Reg about those concerns, Harding said:

I'm not in any way - to be clear - criticising the regime as of today, but I think looking forward - whether it's in three years', five years' or 10 years' time - a large proportion of the country will take their phone broadband as a superfast product, and I don't think that we should live in a world where that is an unregulated product provided by the admittedly very talented and lovely monopolist [BT's Openreach boss Liv Garfield sitting] on my right.

And so I think the time is now right to start looking at exactly what that regulatory framework should be to make sure that it is very clear that both parties are getting a fair price.

Harding added that she had no idea whether TalkTalk was paying a good price for superfast broadband from BT.

"I simply don't know, but there's also no alternative," she said. "Over time, as we consume more of it, I should know and so should Ofcom."

Garfield responded by saying that her company had discussed pricing issues with the communications regulator and industry players previously, and said that she was willing to do that again.

"Let's see where we are in a few years. When there is absence of data there can be conspiracy theories," added Garfield. "If more data is needed to evidence that it is a very good price and that we are being a good citizen as well as a good wholesaler then that will be the kind of conversation I will have to have."

Vaizey had appeared earlier at the Huawei event to deliver a ministerial statement about how pleased he was with the progress of the superfast fibre rollout in the UK. The minister excitedly crowed:

"I'm delighted to say we've overtaken France and Germany".

He added that the government remained "on target" to bring 90 per cent broadband coverage to Blighty by 2015 with speeds of at least 2Mbit/s.

But Vaizey didn't mention the issue of viable competition for BDUK funds, even though Fujitsu has been effectively shut out of the process. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.