The two companies are in "early but serious" discussions, The Daily Telegraph reports. The investment would mark a major shift in the UK’s fixed line broadband sector because at present, all operators rely on the Openreach network, with the exception of Virgin Media, which has its own fibre-optic cable network.
Vodafone is thought to be planning to target the infrastructure at major metropolitan areas at first. It could allow the brand to compete effectively with Virgin Media on speed.
But regulations on Openreach could pose a hurdle to any collaboration; the business is required by Ofcom to sell access to its network on equal terms, but Vodafone is thought to be demanding a period of exclusivity for the proposed new network.
Ofcom ordered that Openreach be separated from BT last November. In July, it dropped "BT" from its name.