6. Competition Assessment
Having reviewed the five competition checklist questions provided within the Competition and Markets Authority guidance for policymakers on competition impact assessments, it is considered that proposals set out in this consultation will not result in a significant impact on competition within the marketplace.
In support of the above, it is noted that Option 1 and the proposal to mandate engagement between developers and network operators and the installation of physical infrastructure:
- follows the process used for current voluntary action and industry practice in the procurement and provision of network connections to new housing developments.
- enables flexibility in the solutions adopted and does not prescribe the performance of individual products or solutions; instead, reinforcing the benefit of early engagement with the chosen network operators on matters of specification.
- sets performance standards on an elemental basis in support of optimum levels of performance with pragmatic caveats on the practicality of delivery;
No significant areas where issues of competition, restriction or imbalance will arise have been identified. It is recognised that some concerns may be raised in response to public consultation, and these would be subject to further investigation prior to any decision on action following consultation.
The regulation of the telecommunications sector is a reserved matter under the Scotland Act 1998. Ofcom regulate the industry for the whole of the UK under statutory powers in the Communications Act 2003. The Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review for the period 2021-26 splits various parts of the UK according to the availability of competition and having identified BT as having significant market power varies regulation on Openreach accordingly. It is recognised that in some areas, approximately 30% of the UK in analysis undertaken in 2020, Openreach are the only operator providing a large-scale network.
Alternative network operators are also able to use Openreach ducts and poles through a Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product to facilitate competition.
Nothing in these proposals impacts on the regulation of the telecommunications sector by Ofcom in terms of promoting competition between operators or consumer interests.
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