OFT Issues short-form opinion in record time


Short-form opinion on rural broadband wayleave rates -

On 23 August the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issued a non-binding short-form opinion on proposals by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Country Land and Business Association (CLA). The NFU and CLA propose to recommend to their rural members a ‘reference rate’ for the grant of access to their land for the purposes of laying and servicing broadband cables.

In its opinion, the OFT has confirmed that, in principle, the recommendation of such a fixed reference rate would be anti-competitive. However, the OFT is of the opinion that the benefits to the provision of high speed broadband in rural areas outweigh the negative effects on competition of having a fixed reference rate. As such, the proposal for a reference rate could meet the criteria for an exemption from the provisions of the UK Competition Act 1998 (CA ’98).

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