Passive infrastructure access: Ofcom's October 2010 review of wholesale local access and BT's new pricing proposals for access to ducts and poles

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In October 2010, Ofcom published its review of the wholesale local access ("WLA") market, pursuant to which BT was required, among other things, to produce a draft reference offer for physical infrastructure access ("PIA") by mid-January 2011 with a view to launching a product by the middle of this year. BT duly announced draft pricing proposals for duct and pole access on 14 January. This update looks at the new remedies in Ofcom's WLA review relating to PIA and virtual unbundled local access ("VULA")3, and at BT's draft pricing proposals for PIA. Ofcom's WLA Review concluded that BT continues to have significant market power ("SMP") in the market for WLA services in the UK excluding the Hull area, WLA services being those based on copper loops, cable networks and optical fibre at a fixed location. It also concluded that BT's local access network remained "critical" for those companies seeking to compete to provide downstream services like broadband and traditional voice

services.

Accordingly, and in line with the EU's NGA Recommendation, Ofcom has put in place what it calls a "new regulatory model" with the new regulatory remedies VULA and PIA alongside the existing Local Loop Unbundling ("LLU") remedy as its core elements.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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