London - Britain's BT could have to maintain a sufficient margin when selling its superfast broadband to rivals to allow others to profitably match its prices, under new regulatory proposals set out on Thursday.

Ofcom said in May it would not regulate the prices BT could charge competitors such as TalkTalk and BSkyB but on Thursday it proposed rules which would require a sufficient margin to be held between the wholesale and retail charges.

Ofcom separately said it had investigated a complaint from TalkTalk about BT's fibre pricing, and provisionally found there were no grounds for action. TalkTalk had suggested its margins were being squeezed by the prices BT set for its wholesale prices.

“The consultation is welcome,” a BT spokesman said. “We hope it results in regulatory clarity and certainty, and discourages spurious claims such as that made by TalkTalk.

“There is strong competition in the UK broadband market and we are confident our pricing will pass any regulatory test that may be put in place. It is important that Ofcom encourages investment as well as competition, and recognises the full costs involved in deploying fibre.” - Reuters