In hopes of promoting competition in the national market for broadband services, British telecom sector regulator Ofcom proposed rules on Tuesday that would require former state phone monopoly BT Group to provide rivals with access to the company’s network infrastructure for the purpose of establishing competitive broadband networks or services. The proposed directive comes as BT continues work on a US $2.23 billion nationwide fiber network that, initially, would support download speeds of up to 40 Mbps and is slated eventually to provide speeds in excess of 100 Mbps that would rival those to be offered by BT’s main broadband competitor, Virgin Media. In addition to requiring wholesale network access that would allow rivals to offer competitive broadband services on a resale basis, Ofcom is also proposing that BT provide access to underground ducts and telephone poles that would enable competitors to lay their own lines across BT’s network infrastructure. Ofcom added that BT will be able to set prices for such network access at rates that ensure “a fair rate of return.” Although BT already provides open access to its broadband network facilities through its Openreach unit, the carrier endorsed Ofcom’s plan as providing “some of the regulatory clarity and certainty that we have been seeking.”