Europe calls on BT to open up broadband infrastructure

BT has been asked by the European Commission to allow competitors access to its overhead poles and underground ducts to increase access to faster broadband services in the UK.

BT is already providing its competitors with 'virtual access' - virtual unbundling - to its network through its Openreach services, allowing other ISPs to establish a virtual network within BT's infrastructure.

Neelie Kroes, the European Digital Agenda Commissioner, applauded the current policy of virtual unbundling, saying: "In this specific instance, virtual unbundling seems the best option to safeguard competition and enable consumers to benefit from a wider range of services provided over next-generation fibre infrastructure."

But Kroes went on to add: "This interim solution is not a long-term alternative to physical fibre unbundling, which should be imposed as soon as possible."

Physical unbundling will provide competitors with the ability to install their own fibre networks, enhancing broadband speeds across the country.

BT, in response to the European Commision's statement, said that their virtual unbundling process is enough for the market at the moment, but will try to focus more on physical unbundling in the future.

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