BT warned of Openreach split

19 July 2016
BT warned of Openreach split

BT have been chided by MPs, saying that they've got to sort themselves out or have Openreach taken off them.

They've been told that they need to "invest significantly" in Openreach, as it is responsible for swathes of the UK's broadband roll-out. And the service offered by Openreach was also criticised.

The Culture Media and Sport Committee report accused BT of acting in their own "priorities and interests".

It is thought that BT are under-investing by hundreds of millions of pounds every year, but BT dismissed the allegation.

BT said: "Openreach investment is 30% higher than it was two years ago and it will grow again this year. Separating Openreach from BT would lead to less investment, not more."

They added that they were "disappointed to be criticised for having invested more than £1 billion a year in infrastructure when the UK was emerging from recession and rival companies invested little".

The added further that they had "committed to invest a further six billion pounds over the next three years".

Either way, if BT doesn't heed the MPs warnings, then there's a likelihood that Openreach will be split from BT.

If the telecoms giant fail to "offer the reforms and investment assurances necessary to satisfy our concerns", Ofcom should "move to enforce full separation of Openreach".

Thus far, Ofcom have backed away from separating the two, instead, continuing their talks with BT about the ways it can make Openreach a more independent body.

Ofcom's final decision on all this is imminent.

Of course, BT's rivals have been calling for the two to be split for a number of years, as they argue that BT Openreach has a monopoly on the cables and network infrastructure of the UK's broadband.

TalkTalk's chief executive, Dido Harding said: "This report puts beyond doubt the need for radical reform of Openreach. MPs have concluded that Openreach is not fit for purpose and is letting Britain down."

"As Ofcom considers how to improve Britain's broadband, it should feel emboldened to know it has cross-party political support to be radical," she said.

Reading between the lines, BT's rivals are pointing out that BT can afford to pay for Premier League matches for BT Sport, when they could be offering better broadband infrastructure for everyone.

TOPICS:   Utilities

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