BT overcame an important hurdle in its quest to deploy high-speed broadband services throughout the United Kingdom, as national telecom regulator Ofcom approved BT’s plan to deploy the network while giving BT the freedom to offer wholesale access to that network at market rates. Ofcom’s decision to refrain from regulating BT’s wholesale rate structure is considered vital, as BT had earlier insisted that it would not proceed with the US $2.1 billion project unless it was allowed to achieve profits that would justify the level of investment required. Noting that BT’s pricing is likely too constrained by low rates currently charged by Virgin Media and other existing broadband service providers, BT Chief Executive Ed Richards rejected the notion that Ofcom’s decision would lead to higher consumer prices. As such, Richards proclaimed that, “our message today is clear: there are no regulatory barriers in the way of investment in super fast broadband.” Declaring that Ofcom’s announcement “gives us the green light to push ahead with our . . . plans to reach at least 40 per cent of UK households by 2012,” BT CEO Ian Livingston applauded the decision as “an important step [that] will allow the market to develop the next generation of the UK’s broadband infrastructure, which is so critical to the UK’s future as a knowledge-based economy.”