Ofcom warn BT that things are about to change
A lot of BT's rivals aren't happy about how much (or, rather, how little) has been invested in Openreach, and they would like it sold. Sharon White, Ofcom's chief executive, is looking at BT's provision of superfast broadband and said that "the structural separation" of Openreach from BT is definitely one thing being looked at.
White said the four possible options are:
- Whether to continue the status quo which is "unlikely."
- More deregulation.
- The "structural separation" of Openreach and BT.
- Adjusting the existing system to make it "more fit for purpose", making new superfast lines, improving services, and making a lot of repairs.
Seeing as BT is responsible for connecting almost all houses to the network, even if they're on a different network, this is big news. While splitting Openreach and BT up is not a foregone conclusion, something needs to be done about the 2.5m houses that aren't getting access to minimal broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second.
This is the speed that the government has promised everyone will have by 2020. Ofcom are expected to start reporting their recommendations next year.
BT are on record, saying that they think splitting off Openreach from them would be a "mistake", as they think they're the only ones big enough to deal with such a responsibility.
A spokesperson for BT said: "The UK's broadband market compares well with other major European countries, but it has also changed beyond recognition in the past decade and regulation needs to be updated to reflect that. We believe the current model works extremely well but there is always room for improvement and for deregulation given the UK market is now far more competitive than it was a decade ago."