26 Aug 2015
Ofcom urges BT & Openreach split

Ofcom urges BT & Openreach split

Posted by Chris Thomas

For News Opinion Internet IP Lines

Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report (CMR) has called for BT Openreach to become a separate company from BT.

About time, some would say.

BT, on the other hand may strongly resist giving up the division of the company that runs its physical infrastructure, claiming that the current setup has helped achieve significant investment in fibre infrastructure in the UK.

And although BT may have spent billions on upgrading most of its network from copper cables to fibre optic, it is felt by many that there has been a significant decrease in service and maintenance, to the detriment of consumers and businesses. Openreach has been heavily criticised for delays in connectivity and a lack of attention to repairs.

Other providers in the market, such as Sky and Talk Talk have always contested the impartiality of the BT/Openreach relationship, claiming that it creates a conflict of interest. Breaking off the Openreach arm would unleash the power of multiple providers in a highly competitive marketplace.

BT has held the monopoly on communications infrastructure for many years and this was somewhat reinforced when the government issued the tender for the rollout of the UK’s Superfast service. It was reported that the document was written in such a way that it would be virtually impossible for anyone other than BT to win the contract.

BT Chief Executive, Gavin Patterson, reportedly stated that it would be a mistake for Openreach to be split. BT has already put forward proposals to deliver the next generation of broadband and this Ultrafast service as it has been dubbed, is largely possible because of the scale that a company the size of BT can offer.

So the initial discussion has begun and the next phase invites comments and evidence for both arguments. Ofcom has indicated that a full statement on findings and actions to be taken, will be given early next year.

An interesting and potentially significant shift may be in our midst - watch this space for more information in due course.

And if you’d rather avoid getting involved in the turmoil altogether, call Bistech for a no obligation review on 03330 11 22 55. We take away the headache of dealing with any third party - so you can focus on your business!