HomeNewsCityFibre appeals Ofcom's approval of BT Equinox pricing scheme

    CityFibre appeals Ofcom’s approval of BT Equinox pricing scheme


    On a brighter note, the fibre altnet provider is to extend Colt’s reach in eight regional UK cities

    CityFibre has made good on its promise to appeal regulator Ofcom’s recent approval of Openreach’s Equinox pricing scheme, taking its argument to the Competition Appeals Tribunal.

    Openreach is the wholesale access division of BT, the UK’s largest fixed and mobile operator, and former national monopoly. Incidentally, Ofcom published its annual monitoring report on progress towards Openreach becoming more independent.

    Equinox offers discounts to ISPs for FTTP access with 10-year certainity to customers using Openreach’s infrastructure in return for a commitment to connect at least 90% of new lines as FTTP, instead of copper.

    Hence an ISP will pay a monthly rental for a 1Gbps line of £22.00 instead of £31.57, for example. Ofcom’s line is that this is not anti-competitive.

    CityFibre argues that Equinox’s stipulation of 90% of orders for new lines being FTTP creates a barrier to competition.

    Equity research firm Jefferies notes, “This seems logical to us, bearing in mind that ISPs are free to carve out any proportion of their installed lines to altnets, with the 90% FTTP target only applying to the proportion of new connections that are retained on Openreach.”

    Competitive downside for altnets

    But goes on to say: “What CitryFibre may be justifiably concerned about is that Equinox undermines its pricing advantage. Indeed, [CityFibre] states that Equinox is already having an adverse impact on competition. Read that as positive for BT.”

    And CityFibre looks to have a strong case. A month after Equinox was launched, at the end of September, BT’s CEO Philip Jansen said Openreach’s three largest customers had signed up for Equinox, naming Sky and TalkTalk, and added that in total Equinox had attracted 10 retail service providers.

    Colt signs up

    Colt Technology Services announced a partnership with CityFibre, it is enhancing the reach of its UK metro network in eight regional cities across the UK; Leeds, Bristol, Slough, Bracknell, Reading, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    The partnership with CityFibre “enables Colt to use an innovative access model to connect commercial buildings as on net locations, supporting fully managed Colt services. The extended metro reach allows Colt customers full ‘on-demand’ capabilities in these cities and establishes Edinburgh and Glasgow as the 53rd and 54th Colt Metro Cities”.

    The intelligent Colt IQ Network comprises of 29,000 on net buildings and over 900 data centres across Europe, Asia and North America’s largest business hubs, and enables customers to expand their businesses globally with Colt.