BT has been ordered by Ofcom to open up its 'Dark Fibre' network of ultra high-speed fibre optic cables to competitor.
At present the cables are used exclusively by BT for businesses, however the new ruling would force BT to open up the infrastructure to other providers potentially increasing competition and offering a higher range of services for businesses to choose from.
So what is 'Dark Fibre'? 'Dark Fibre' is simply the term used to describe the action of another service provider 'using' BT's own infrastructure for itself.
So in essence the cables would no longer be 'lit' by BT, but by the rival services.
The way they would do this is hardware. At present other services can use the network but they have to rent the equipment from BT at prices regulated by Ofcom.
This ruling would allow providers like TalkTalk, Vodafone and others to install their own equipment at either end of the connection.
What this means for small and large businesses is simply that they'll be offered more choice, with Ofcom hoping that the increased competition will drive down prices.
Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom Competition Group Director, said:
“High-speed, fibre optic leased lines are invisible to most people. But they form a critical building block in the UK’s infrastructure that underpins people’s personal and working lives.
“Today’s proposals should help businesses across the UK who rely on high-speed data lines. We want to see more innovation, faster installations and more competition, by providing operators with the opportunity to deploy the technologies of their choice.”