There’s no way to write about this without a tiny bit of innuendo creeping in. Ah well. BT has told its broadband rivals that they can lay their fibre cables in its tunnels should they so desire.

The move could potentially encourage the development of the superfast broadband network BT’s been bleating about for a while, and save its rivals billions of pounds that would’ve been needed to dig up pavements and what-have-you in order to build their own tunnels.

Calls from the Tories, TalkTalk and BSkyB for something along these lines have been aired for a while. Jeremy Hunt, shadow minister for Culture, Media and Sport has said that if the Conservatives were elected this year, they would break BT’s network monopoly to promote a target nationwide broadband speed of 100mbps.

BT, for its part, maintains that the new announcement was not simply caving to political pressure. Chief executive Ian Livingstone has commented that, “We told Ofcom last year we’re willing to provide open access to our ducts and poles and we are working with them on how to achieve it. Other companies already have access to our exchanges so we’re relaxed about providing them with another form of access as well.”

TalkTalk has noted in a statement that, “We’re at the forefront of the debate about how best to provide super fast broadband to our customers. We’re talking to BT and Ofcom and we’re considering a range of options including our own fibre trial.”