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In response to ongoing calls across the industry for Ofcom to split Openreach from BT as part of their 10 year Strategic Review, the incumbent has bitten back with a detailed response to Ofcom.

In the company’s press release titled ‘Continuity of Investment Key to Britain’s Future’ BT admits it needs to improve its customer service but warns separating them from Openreach would create ‘huge uncertainty and fundamentally undermine the case for future investment’, basically continuing their strategy of threatening to throw their toys out of the pram and halt all future investment if they don’t get their own way!

The company also details a number of key steps it thinks Ofcom should take as part of its review:

  • Long term commitments to deliver certainty and clarity, enabling CPs to invest with confidence
  • Regulatory policies to  encourage large scale investment
  • Support for consolidation when it benefits competition and investment
  • Better regulatory balance between service quality and price, requesting Ofcom consider service quality when setting price controls
  • Level playing field for Pay TV – requesting an improved switching process for bundled services and requesting review of Sky’s dominance
  • Relaxed regulation on legacy products and removal of duplication

Unsurprisingly the release makes a clear case for Openreach to stay as part of BT stating Openreach benefits by having access to capital and its £500 million per year research and development fund. They also go into detail to describe the achievements the company has made and the improvements the UK broadband market has seen over the last 10 years- which is all down to them of course!

Our recent article on this subject, ‘Should Ofcom force Openreach to split from BT? certainly provoked a number of responses from our readers who all appeared to agree that a split would be in the best interests of the industry (Thank you for your comments). One thing is clear- threatening to halt future investment if they are forced to split is not doing BT any favours within the industry. The results of the strategic review are due to be published later this month so we guess we will just have to wait and see.

Have your say!

What do you think of BT’s suggestions? Do you think their 10 year achievements should be considered in this case? Or should Ofcom concentrate on more recent service performance? Leave us a comment to share your opinions.

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