Ever since Ofcom first announced that they would be giving other operators access to BT’s dark fibre, we’ve been excited about the opportunities, greater competition and innovation in the Ethernet market this could bring for businesses up and down the country. TalkTalk helped transform the consumer broadband market after the unbundling of domestic exchanges in 2003, and we firmly believe that this could drive a similar revolution in business connectivity. Finally, this year we will be able to make this a reality, as we leverage Openreach’s dark fibre access (DFA) to deliver higher capacity Ethernet connectivity to more businesses than ever before.

There is currently an insatiable appetite amongst businesses for greater connectivity. Ovum predicts that in the next three years alone, business demand for 1Gb+ speeds will increase by 50%, forming around 60% of all connections.

That’s why DFA is so important – and TalkTalk Business has been leading the way to make sure UK PLC will be able to meet the data intensive demands of future working practices as easily, and cost-effectively, as possible.

Ofcom’s announcement a year ago that Openreach had to offer DFA was only the first step on this journey. As with all regulation, the devil is in the detail, and there are still many details still to be worked out. But today, thanks to TalkTalk Business, we are all a step closer to making sure DFA will be a success.

When Ofcom first proposed a wholesale price for DFA, it was apparent that they had not taken into account the effect non-domestic rates would have on the success of DFA. At the moment, BT is responsible for the non-domestic rates payable on standard Ethernet lines, but the providing CP would be responsible for the rates if they used a dark fibre circuit – and as smaller CPs pay a higher rate, this additional cost would make using many dark fibre circuits uneconomical, undermining Ofcom’s entire objective.

In line with our commitment to Next Generation Ethernet built on dark fibre, TalkTalk was the only CP to appeal the regulator’s suggested prices, and we’re delighted that earlier today the Competition and Markets Authority has upheld our appeal and agreed that CPs’ higher non-domestic rates need to be taken into consideration when setting the wholesale price. We need to wait and see exactly where Ofcom sets the new price level, but we’re pleased that we’re now one step closer to making our dark fibre plans a reality.

At TalkTalk Business, we know that we have the background in innovation and the proven commitment to customer services to ensure our partners can make the most of the dark fibre opportunity. Whether it’s helping UK businesses embrace cloud computing, Big Data, IP Voice or just dealing with exponential bandwidth demands, we know that this will help us deliver real value and ensure our customers will be able to go from strength to strength.

Of course, the channel will continue to have an enormous role to play, but DFA will allow them an even greater degree of flexibility when it comes to delivering differentiated service offerings for their end customers, ultimately creating new revenue streams and contributing to their continued growth.

We are incredibly excited about the opportunities dark fibre will bring to the UK Ethernet Market, and we’re looking forward to being able to unveil our plans for giving our customers access to the great value, high performance connectivity we know they’re crying out for.  Stay tuned to our blog over the coming months as we unveil more information.