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TalkTalk warns of return to BT 'monopoly'

Internet service provider TalkTalk has warned that relying on BT to provide the majority of the UK's fibre infrastructure will give the company a virtual monopoly on super-fast broadband connections, particularly in rural areas.Commercial director at TalkTalk, David Goldie, also warned that he did not feel a BT-led rollout would represent a sound investment in infrastructure.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

Internet service provider TalkTalk has warned that relying on BT to provide the majority of the UK's fibre infrastructure will give the company a virtual monopoly on super-fast broadband connections, particularly in rural areas.

Commercial director at TalkTalk, David Goldie, also warned that he did not feel a BT-led rollout would represent a sound investment in infrastructure.

"At all times BT is thinking about how it can recover the monopoly position that it lost many years ago," Goldie told The Guardian on Sunday. "I don't think that is going to represent good value for the British taxpayer."

In August Virgin Media's chief executive, Neil Berkett, raised similar concerns in an interview with the Financial Times. Berkett said he feared that the allocation of BDUK cash could end up cementing BT's dominance of the fibre network.

BT has said it will invest up to £2.5bn in the UK's fibre network, which will cover two-thirds of UK homes. The BDUK scheme intends to bring fibre to the 'final third', mostly comprised of villages and towns in rural areas, by matching public money with private investment. BT is currently in the process of bidding for £360m of public cash made available to England and Scotland under the scheme.

Japanese networking giant Fujitsu has also said it will spend up to £2bn building a fibre network that provides broadband services to rural areas in the UK, which would be open to all ISPs, including BT, in order for them to resell services.

However, the plan necessitates Fujitsu securing public funding, such as that available under the BDUK scheme, as well as obtaining agreeable terms to access BT's infrastructure.

BT is due to publish the full costs for allowing access to its fibre infrastructure before the end of September.

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