A year ago BT stressed how keen it was so open up its many cable ducts and poles to third parties, should they want to establish their own telecommunications infrastructure and not dig up all the roads in order to do so.
A mere year later, the former state telco monopoly has managed to produce draft proposals for the sharing of its ducts and poles. The facility will be managed by Openreach - BT's local access network division - and a press release from the division said: "The commercial launch of the service is expected in summer 2011."
It's not clear what demand there is for this facility and, thus, what impact it will have on competition in the UK broadband market. Right now only BT and Virgin are talking up their ‘superfast' broadband offerings and it would be nice to have at least one other player.
But it won't be cheap. If you want to feed your cable through BT's ducts (ooer! - Ed) you will have to pay BT at least a quid per meter per year. Pole-sharing will cost £21 a pop. BT reckons these prices are competitive when compared to equivalent schemes elsewhere.
"Today we're doing what we promised by offering the communications industry yet another way of accessing our network in order to deliver super-fast broadband speeds to homes and businesses," said Steve Robertson, CEO of Openreach. "We've listened to the views and requirements of our customers and will continue to work closely with industry and Ofcom to finalise the details of our duct and pole sharing products."
Spontaneous and completely un-coerced though we're sure this gesture is, BT wants to make sure Virgin Media doesn't miss this opportunity to improve the lot of the common man either: "We also think it's really important that consumers and businesses continue to enjoy a choice of fibre services so we will be expecting others to be as open as we are," concluded Robertson.