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Virgin Media will not be forced to open up its cable broadband ducts for use by other service providers, much to BT's annoyance.

Ofcom ruled that there is no need for Virgin Media to offer wholesale access to its cable network, as the firm does not have significant market power (SMP).

By contrast, the media regulator ordered BT to open up its broadband ducts and poles to other broadband providers in January 2011.

Ofcom told ISPreview.co.uk that where operators have a position of SMP, it can require them to share their networks with rival firms.

"When we last assessed the market, we used these powers to require BT to share its ducts and poles on a wholesale basis with other providers. We did not find Virgin Media to have SMP," the regulator stated.

Under the revised Communications Act, Ofcom also has the power to require firms to share their ducts and poles even where they do not have SMP.

However, in this instance the regulator stopped short of using this competence – a decision which has infuriated BT.

"We would only consider using these in specific cases where the parties involved have first tried and failed to reach a commercial access agreement," Ofcom said.

"It would also have to be proportionate, non-discriminatory and in the interests of promoting efficient investment in infrastructure and innovation."

Speaking to the news provider, a BT spokesperson claimed that allowing wholesale access to broadband networks helps to ensure investment in the future of the UKs telecoms infrastructure.

"We believe it is important, and only fair, that others are prepared to do the same and remove any remaining barriers to investment," they stated.

The spokesperson argued that action is needed on this issue, claiming that BT would continue to make this point strongly to Ofcom.

Last week, Virgin Media announced that a quarter of UK homes can now take advantage of its 100Mb fibre broadband network.

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