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Cable.co.uk comments on BT fails to cooperate voluntarily with Ofcom requirement to separate Openreach

  • Ofcom has announced today that will be proceeding with a formal notification to enforce legal separation of Openreach and BT after BT has failed to offer voluntary proposals that address competition concerns
  • Ofcom 'disappointed' with BT, says 'some progress has been made, but this has not been enough'
  • Ofcom nevertheless 'remains open' to BT and 'bridging the gap between its proposal and what is required to address our strong competition concerns'
  • Commenting on the data, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said: That Ofcom has had to speak out of its 'frustration' suggests to me there is more to this delay than bureaucracy and red tape"

Tuesday 29 November 2016: Today, Ofcom, venting its frustration at not having received a voluntary proposal from BT to implement the legal separation of BT and Openreach, has announced that it is preparing to notify the European Commission of its intentions.

Openreach is the division of BT that develops and maintains most of the UK's broadband infrastructure (Not including Virgin Media, which runs its own network), but used by providers such as Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Plusnet, many smaller providers and of course BT itself.

Ofcom's proposal for BT and Openreach to become distinct companies – though still to remain within BT Group – were outlined in July of this year.

Ofcom's official release can be found here.

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

"It's tough to read whether BT's heel-dragging is as a result of a tactic with the intention to deliberately delay and undermine the process, or whether, rather like Brexit, the process of separating Openreach is simply too vast and complex to be fully planned out in such a short period of time.

"That Ofcom has had to speak out of its 'frustration' suggests to me there is more to this delay than bureaucracy and red tape – that unwillingness to comply is also playing some part."

Notes to editors

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Cable.co.uk 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. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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