BT Openreach

BT has had "enough second chances" to improve the quality and consistency of the UK's broadband network and should be split up, the former small business minister Anna Soubry has said.

Speaking to the BBC Today programme, Ms Soubry, who stepped down from the position as Theresa May formed her new government, described it as "outrageous in this day and age that people do not have access to superfast broadband".

BT's rivals - such as Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media - have long called for the telecoms giant and Openreach to be separated, arguing that BT has deliberately under-invested in Openreach to affect their performance.

Last month, however, communications regulator Ofcom ruled that Openreach should sit as a distinct part of the BT Group, with its own board and control over its own budget. A week earlier, the Culture Media and Sport Committee told BT to "put your house in order", also accusing it of significantly under-investing in Openreach and the UK's broadband infrastructure.

"I was very surprised that was pulled back on [splitting BT and Openreach]," Ms Soubry said. "I'm sorry, but they have not delivered."

"Radical action needs to be taken so that we have superfast broadband across the UK," she said.

BT claims 90% of properties in the UK have access to superfast broadband, which is defined as 24Mbps, and promises to reach 95% by the end of 2017 and 100% by 2020. Kim Mears, the managing director of infrastructure at BT Openreach, stressed that "over 91% of the UK have access to superfast speeds".

"We've got a network across the UK that's capable of giving those speeds."

But the former small business minister called those claims into question.

"I seem to meet every member of the 10%," she said.

Despite ruling that Openreach should sit as a separate entity within the BT Group, Ofcom has reiterated that if will enforce a split “if BT doesn’t agree".

"We will use the rules and powers to enforce the change,” it said. “We have the powers, we’re clear we have the powers.”