Ofcom is consulting over how next generation networks - including fibre - should be regulated, to protect supplier investments and ensure end-users can benefit from a competitive market.
Ofcom says end-users have benefited from wider broadband access, faster speeds and cheaper prices under the current regulatory regime, but it wants to make sure a similar formula is in place as suppliers build out next generation networks.
BT is currently building its £10bn 21st Century Network, which is IP-based to support more flexible and a wider range of services to businesses and consumers, and Virgin Media is busy upgrading its cable network, which serves around 50% of the population.
Ofcom says these and many other suppliers may consider wider fibre deployments to keep up with the faster broadband access expectations of ecommerce firms and consumers, and that the regulatory regime for such investments now had to be modified to take account of them.
Competition minister Stephen Timms last week called for the industry, regulators and government to come together to plan a roadmap for next generation broadband services.