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Message 1 of 14

BT broadband Monopoly?


I currently have BT broadband. I live in a central London building in Westminister that contains 40 flats, which was constructed in 2003. Unfortunately, BT appear to have a monopoly on ADSL / copper wire broadband to my building. I’ve spoken to other broadband providers and it appears that BT have all the cabinet space at my local exchange. I don’t even have the option to switch to another broadband provider. How can this be the case?

As a resident who does not have access to decent fast (fibre) internet, at the very least I expect to be able to switch to the most competitively priced copper ADSL broadband provider. Unfortunately, it appears that my only options are BT or EE (on BT infrastructure).

Why do I need to pay almost £400 per year for 10mbps speeds, when I could be getting the same (slow) from another provider for half the cost? Of course I’d rather just have fibre, but at the very least I’d like competitively-priced ADSL. 

I don’t want a 4G/5G hub as the signal is not reliable enough. Am I really just locked into BT or EE for a wired connection? What are my options?

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Message 2 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?

BT do not have a monopoly. The infrastructure which includes cabinets is operated by Openreach which while part of the BT Group of companies is a different company from the BT broadband provider company

BT, by law do not get any preferential treatment from Openreach.

If all the ports in the cabinet have all been taken by BT all that means is that all the people who have broadband through that cabinet just happen to be BT customers.

All the other providers have an equal chance to get any port which may become available should a user give up their line.

If the cabinet is full, Openreach may increase capacity but as the copper side of things is being upgraded to full fibre this may not happen.

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Message 3 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?

The fact remains that BT is the only provider that I can access (and have been able to access for the past 7 years). Neither Openreach or BT have any plans or incentive to increase cabinet space at the exchange.

This is uncompetitive. I wouldn’t mind if it were a decent service or, at the very least, value for money, but it is neither.

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Message 4 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?

Rather than a monopoly it's maybe an addressing or capacitor error. What does the availability checker report here if you use both the phone number & address? You can post a screenshot but edit out you details first.

Is your address 100% correct on the Royal Mail database, especially postcode & unit number?

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Message 5 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?



Sorry about the potato image quality - I had to reduce the file size significantly in order to upload screenshots.

Are you able to help me decipher what the above info means?

thanks for your help

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Message 6 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?


You have missed out the name of the exchange and cabinet number.

If there is no cabinet number showing, then you are on an EO (Exchange Only) connection, so there is no hope of getting a faster connection unless fibre infrastructure is installed.

Its very common in large cities, where buildings that need to have a large number of connections, and are close to the nearest exchange, for Openreach to run a cable directly from the exchange frame, to the building.

This is also the case if a building was originally a commercial building which was converted to flats.


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Message 7 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?



thanks for your reply - yes, you’re correct. There is no cabinet number and I am connected directly to the Pimlico Exchange.

While there is no hope of getting a faster fibre connection, I don’t understand why it’s the case that I cannot switch to another ADSL provider?

I’ve checked with numerous other ISPs and only BT or EE (on BT) are able to provide an ADSL broadband connection. I’ve given up any hope of getting a faster connection, but at the very least I’d like to be spending the least amount of money for my slow ADSL connection.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated


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Message 8 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?

Personally I don't think it's a monopoly, it may well just be that the other providers have made a choice not to provide connections on that type of line

Message 9 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?


There is a "stop sell" for most copper based products, so providers are not even going to see an option to provide service.

You should not be paying more than £35 a month for your connection.

I am on ADSL by choice, and I pay £34.24 in total.

Have you considered a 4G mobile broadband connection?


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Message 10 of 14

Re: BT broadband Monopoly?

I may be wrong but as far as I am aware EO lines are a legacy of the time when the Post Office then British Telecom provided all phone lines in the UK. 

Putting it very simplistically the infrastructure is "built into" the exchange so those lines can not be unbundled to allow other providers to use them. 

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