An Openreach statement issued today announced a delay in the expected launch of Equinox 2 pricing which they had claimed would support customers, with lower prices and “long-term certainty to help them switch to faster, more reliable broadband connections”.
Today’s statement from Openreach said “Whilst we continue to share Ofcom’s initial view that our offer isn’t anti-competitive, it’s important the regulator has time to consider all the feedback it has received fully and fairly, so our discounted Full Fibre prices won’t come into effect on April 1.”
This was a response to Ofcom’s message to the market: “To provide certainty and stability for industry, our view is that it would not be appropriate for the offer to launch until we issue our final decision.”
The change of heart from Ofcom seems at least in part to have been driven by comments from Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group in an interview with the Financial Times where he claimed “There is only going to be one national network” and questioned the need for multiple providers.
Controversially the article was headlined “BT chief warns Openreach fibre push will ‘end in tears’ for rivals”
Today’s announcement will in particular please the altnets who were claiming via INCA that Equinox2 was putting £25 billion of investment into the UK full fibre infrastructure at risk. INCA CEO, Malcolm Corbett had said that the early decision by Ofcom had shown complete disregard for the “many smaller market entrants and the billions of pounds invested in those networks”.
Quite the bombshell from @Ofcom this morning. I’ll do a write up of my thoughts later today, but one thing that jumped out to me, was the line “we will be vigilant to ensure that all involved stick to the letter and *spirit* of the rules”. That’s new. 1/2
— Tim Creswick (@TimCreswick) March 17, 2023
Amongst the comments on the decision was Tim Creswick, CEO and Founder of Vorboss who took to Twitter describing the decision as “Quite the bombshell” whilst CityFibre CEO, Greg Mesch, commented “Ofcom appears to be taking industry’s concerns seriously. Taking more time to properly consider the impact of Equinox 2 is the right approach if UK consumers and businesses are to benefit from a healthy competitive market for the long term.”
Hear more about investment in UK full fibre infrastructure by joining us at Connected North, taking place in Manchester on 17 – 18 April 2023