Business VoIP Featured Article

British Rural VoIP Users to Benefit From Recent Ofcom Proposals?

January 28, 2011

By David Sims, Business VoIP Contributing Editor

According to a recent report in the industry journal Telappliant, in Great Britain, businesses based in rural areas that use VoIP could benefit from the proposals made in a recent Ofcom announcement.

The regulatory body is calling for BT Wholesale to make changes to its pricing scheme in areas where it is the sole provider of broadband, Telappliant said, adding that "up to three million homes and businesses could benefit from the changes, including those based in Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland."

"Ofcom's proposed charge controls could narrow the difference between prices that consumers in rural and urban areas are paying for broadband services," the organisation stated, adding that it also hoped the plans will drive BT to continue improving the efficiency of its service, saying "this has the potential to make it cheaper for communications providers to roll out their own solutions, meaning users will have access to lower-priced Internet."

In related news, Ofcom published new proposals for rural parts of the UK to receive better value broadband services, proposing "significant reductions in the prices that BT Wholesale can charge ISPs in parts of the country where it is the sole provider of wholesale broadband services -- mainly in rural areas." 

The proposed price reductions are between 10.75 percent and 14.75 percent below inflation. As a result, Ofcom expects competition between retail ISPs, the report said, "Who will benefit from the lower wholesale prices, to lead to reductions in retail prices which will benefit consumers. The changes may also lead to better quality services by enabling ISPs to allocate more bandwidth per customer which could deliver faster broadband services." 

Ofcom estimates that this could benefit almost 12 percent of UK households or around 3 million homes and businesses, mainly in rural areas of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as the South West of England, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland and other areas.

In other areas of the country where there is some wholesale broadband competition delivered by local loop unbundling, Ofcom is not proposing any charge controls. Ofcom also proposes to exempt ADSL 2+ technology from charge controls. This should encourage BT Wholesale to invest in this new technology where it is cost effective to do so.

David Sims is a contributing editor for virtual-pbx. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for virtual-pbx here.

Edited by Charles West

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