BT Openreach

BT has announced that it has bowed to pressure from Ofcom and agreed a deal to split legally from Openreach – creating two separate and distinct companies.

Ofcom was worried about lack of competition, BT”s rivals were not so much worried, as seething. They were reliant on BT,s Openreach, but complained about the charges and poor quality of the service.

Now BT has finally agreed to Ofcom’s demands.

But does it go far enough? One expert in this field has doubts.

Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox said: “This split does not appear to address the current poor service levels of Openreach – i.e. will customers be able to talk direct to Openreach and get compensation for missed appointments and delays?

“There is no mention of penalties if Openreach miss targets – which they consistently do.

“BT will still provide the money for the investment – will it be enough given the £1.2bn it has just spent on football rights and the £10 billion owed to the pension fund?

“Whilst BT will consult with others, e.g. SKY and Talk Talk, over its investment strategy, they all have residential TV products to sell (which is where they make most of their money, and why consistently businesses are being ignored and not served). Who therefore is speaking up for the businesses that don’t have access to fibre and the fact the UK is bottom of the ‘fibre the premise’ league tables in Europe?

“BT can still veto who is appointed as chief executive? How independent does that make Openreach really? How much influence therefore can/will BT continue to exert?

“Given how hard BT has fought this split – will they continue to try to exert influence?”

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