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Ofcom report fails to recommend BT/Openreach split – Comment

  • In its Digital Communications Strategy, published only once every ten years, Ofcom concludes BT and Openreach should stay together
  • Recommendation a blow for competitors such as Sky, TalkTalk and others which have long campaigned for a split
  • Sky, for example, feels that BT's control of Openreach "Reflect the interests of BT rather than the whole industry"

25 February 2016: New recommendations will ultimately allow competitors to use Openreach's existing poles and tunnels to build their own advanced fibre network.

Openreach will have to consult with the wider industry on budget, investment and strategy.

Ofcom to introduce tougher rules on faults, repairs and installations, with automatic compensation for consumers when things go wrong.

Ofcom to deliver new universal obligation to deliver fast broadband to every home and business in the UK

Ofcom will consult industry on these proposals between now and 1 June 2016 and will publish its final decision in Autumn 2016.

The full Ofcom report is available here

Commenting on Ofcom's findings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said:

"Ofcom's decision to open up Openreach's poles and tunnelling to competitors and to give them more say in future strategic and budgetary decision-making goes halfway to alleviating competitor complaints, but stops short of addressing the prime concern.

"With Openreach currently in the midst of its BDUK superfast broadband rollout, aimed at reaching 95% of UK homes by next year – a rollout couched in £1.7bn of public money and a potentially vote-swinging degree of incumbent reputation – the decision should be seen as one of least disruption. It is, perhaps, a case of poor timing winning out over common sense.

"A recommendation to split would have absolutely been the right decision for the UK broadband industry, but, in the short term at least, perhaps not for the 2.5m UK homes that do not currently have access to superfast broadband."

Notes to editors

If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk

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What is Cable?

Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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