BT pleads with Ofcom to let it scrap UK’s landline network

BT is calling on communications watchdog Ofcom to consent to the dismantling of the UK’s fixed landline network, to enable it to compete more effectively on new technology with the likes of Apple and Facebook.

The telecoms firm is seeking to migrate all landlines to internet-based voice calls over the coming decade but says it is hamstrung by existing rules which stipulate it must maintain a fixed line service.

Uptake of such technology has now reached a point where BT argues that any lifting of the obligation would have only a minimal impact on a minority of customers whilst enabling further investment in broadband.

BT’s group director of regulatory affairs Mark Shurmer said: “We believe obsolete regulation should be rolled back, rather than clinging on until the last user dies. What we are looking for is a kind of 'sunset clause' that will help customers to plan.”

BT manages the traditional phone network via its arms-length Openreach division which oversees all national telecoms infrastructure under obligation to provide equal access to rivals such as Sky and TalkTalk.

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