BT OpenreachCalls by industry competitors for BT’s network subsidiary Openreach to be spun off have been resisted, but UK comms regulator Ofcom has decided it is necessary to overhaul Openreach’s governance and strengthen its independence from BT. Ofcom has set out how it plans to improve telecoms quality and coverage, so that UK consumers and businesses receive the best possible phone and broadband services following its Strategic Review of Digital Communications, which is designed to make the UK a world-leading digital economy over the next decade and beyond.

Its key recommendations are:

  • BT must open up network, so competitors can connect fibre to homes and offices
  • Reform of Openreach to better serve UK consumers and businesses
  • Better quality of service for all customers, including automatic compensation

Many of these measures affect all major phone and broadband providers. Others relate specifically to Openreach, the division of BT that maintains the UK’s largest phone and broadband network on behalf of competing providers.

Ofcom’s decisions are designed to achieve:

  • A choice of networks for consumers and businesses. Openreach must open up its network of telegraph poles and underground tunnels to allow rivals to build their own, advanced fibre networks, connected directly to homes and offices.
  • Reform of Openreach. Openreach needs to change, taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy, in consultation with the wider industry.
  • Better quality of service across the telecoms industry. Ofcom intends to introduce tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations; transparent information on service quality; and automatic compensation for consumers when things go wrong.
  • Better broadband and mobile coverage. Ofcom will work with the Government to deliver a new universal right to fast, affordable broadband for every household and business in the UK. It also intends to place new obligations in future spectrum licences to improve rural mobile coverage.
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By Expat