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BT cuts duct-share charges; VM still not happy

# Oct 19, 01:18 PM by Chris T

BT has announced reduced charges for other operators looking to hang their own cables from its poles, or run them through its ducts.

The telco says it has bowed to pressure from its competitors and paid close attention to guidance from Ofcom, the industry regulator.

But rivals including Virgin Media, while welcoming the reduced pole and duct sharing charges, have complained that some of the other charges proposed by BT have not changed – and in some cases have increased.

In January, BT said it would charge £1.16 per metre of duct used, or £21 per pole. The revised prices are 44p for ducts and £11 for poles in most cases.

Liv Garfield, Openreach chief executive, claimed that the revised prices were up to 38 per cent below the European average.

“The new prices are fair, strictly cost-orientated and in line with Ofcom guidance,” she said.

But Virgin Media pointed out that the prices did not include contingencies such as blocked ducts, fallen cables and pole replacement. Once these were allowed for, the company said, the charges could in some cases be higher than before.

“We have had to wait 10 months only to find many of the crucial new build and ancillary charges remain unchanged or are even increased.

“Whilst today’s revised pricing is a belated acknowledgement that certain basic charges were too high, there remains significant disparity between what BT is proposing and what industry knows the costs to carry out the work are,” a Virgin Media spokesperson said.

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