TalkTalk CEO calls for regulatory intervention on superfast broadband

Kathleen Hall

Dido Harding, the CEO of TalkTalk, has called for regulatory intervention into the superfast broadband market in order to encourage greater competition.

Speaking at the Huawei Broadband Forum, Harding said 95% of the fibre broadband market is dominated by BT and Virgin.

Harding said the UK currently has one of the highest rates of broadband penetration and usage in the world, citing the competitive copper market as a key factor.

“In Silicon Valley, there is just one cable operator, whereas in UK there are many, with four large players making up 80% of the market and many other smaller ones,” Dido Harding said. 

As such UK consumers spend the most time online in the world.

“We have to start the discussions now, rather than wait for infrastructure build to be complete,” Harding said. 

Monopolies are like children. You don’t like them, until you have one of your own

Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk

"Whether it’s in the next three, five or 10 years, part of country will take their phone broadband as a superfast product," she said, adding it was time to start working through a regulatory framework.

“Monopolies are like children. You don’t like them, until you have one of your own," she said.

An Ofcom spokesman said the regulator is due to undergo a major review of the fibre market. 

He said the body had already introduced some regulation into the fibre market through the introduction of Physical Infrastructure Access to enable access to BT’s ducts and poles and Virtual Unbundled Local Access– a form of local loop unbundling which provides additional competition in the fibre market. 

“Ofcom has, for some time, placed obligations on BT to enable competition in different parts of its fibre network. We intend to begin a comprehensive review of broadband access in the coming weeks, which will examine how competition is best promoted in what is still a developing market,” he said.



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