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Campaign helps 75,000 people 'add their voices' to BT Openreach debate

Monday, September 26th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

More than 75,000 people have signed up to a campaign by BT’s rivals to reform its infrastructure business Openreach.

The Fix Britain’s Internet campaign was launched in July by Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS), and has since won the support of mobile operator Three.

It encourages members of the public to respond to Ofcom’s consultation on the future of Openreach – specifically on the question of whether it should be split from BT.

The consultation closes on Tuesday 4 October.

A spokesperson for the campaign said: “Ofcom is making huge decisions of national importance in this consultation.

“The campaign to Fix Britain’s Internet is there to make sure the public can officially add their voices to the debate. We are delighted thousands are now doing so every day.

“This is clearly something that people up and down the country feel very passionately about, so it’s reassuring the government has made clear it will take bold action to stand up for their interests.”

Since its launch, the campaign has been involved in a war of words with BT after claiming the company was “spending billions on buying the rights for televised football rather than investing in Britain’s infrastructure” and that nearly half of rural premises can’t get broadband speeds of 10Mbps.

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said the campaign “paints an unfairly diminished view of connectivity across the UK and makes a number of misleading statements”.

'A different story'

BT has also launched a joint advertising campaign with Virgin Media, which claims to set out the facts about the current state of broadband in the UK.

It says the two companies have invested a combined £15bn in the country’s digital infrastructure in the past five years, over which time UK broadband speeds have more than quadrupled.

Openreach boss Clive Selley said: “We need to get the facts out there and the facts are that between Openreach and Virgin Media, we actually have a Europe-leading broadband infrastructure.

“Until everyone can get access to superfast, and until we get real momentum on the transition from superfast to ultrafast, of course there’s more to do but we start from a pretty decent position.

“I think there are others who are trying to tell a different story.”

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