Where will the BT/Openreach soap opera end? And do we need a separate Openreach for business?

Posted on Mar 17 2017 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Where will the BT/Openreach soap opera end? And do we need a separate Openreach for business?
Categories : Broadband, BT, Ofcom

The recent saga concerning the separation of BT and Openreach has set many industry observers speculating about whether it will have any real impact. Only time will tell. But perhaps a further and more important question is whether or not the interests of UK businesses will be well-served in the future when the dust has settled and the storyline has moved on.

Besides competition, there is another good argument for tearing BT and Openreach asunder. It might actually be good for BT in the long run, as it means the company won’t have to fight on as many fronts.

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The State of the Broadband Nation

Posted on Feb 02 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on The State of the Broadband Nation
Categories : Broadband, BT, Fibre, G.Fast, Ofcom

Progress. It’s what we all work for and it seems there was quite a lot of it last year in terms of broadband availability. ADSL coverage increased by 1% nationally, while FTTC saw a 6% increase and FTTP coverage grew by 1.7%. It’s no surprise that FTTC – or superfast broadband in layman’s terms – saw the biggest increase given that the Government is quickly coming up on its self-imposed deadline of 95% coverage by the end of this year.

The question now is of course where BDUK and BT will look to upgrade cabinets in order to achieve their 95% coverage target. The logical answer is that they’ll focus on the low-hanging fruit – that is cabinets that are easy and therefore more cost effective to upgrade than those requiring lots of engineering works. This will likely mean that the focus remains on urban and semi-rural locations, leaving those in the countryside to wither on a sub-par service until the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives them something a little better – if they request it and it won’t cost too much to provision… As you can see from our infographic ‘Connectivity in the UK’, Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2016 says that there are 1.4m premises in the UK that can’t currently access a minimum speed of 10Mbps, the proposed minimum threshold speed of the USO.14% of these – or 200,000 premises – are small to medium-sized businesses and 69% (that’s 960,000 buildings) are in rural locations.

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Openrexit means Openrexit?

Posted on Nov 30 2016 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on Openrexit means Openrexit?
Categories : BT, Ofcom, Regulation

Yesterday’s trade press was dominated by the news that Ofcom has issued a directive that BT must ‘legally separate’ from its Openreach division. On the face of it, the move is designed to level the market playing field and encourage fairer competition but of course, whether it does remains to be seen. It’s important to appreciate that BT won’t have to split Openreach off entirely – it will still own Openreach, albeit as a legally separate entity. So what will this mean for the industry, resellers and customers?

Openreach will become a distinct company with its own board, says Ofcom, with non-executives and a chairperson not affiliated with BT (the newly appointed former Ofcom board member Mike McTighe). Ofcom also wants Openreach to have control over its branding and budget allocation. Importantly, it will have a duty to treat all of its customers equally.

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Ofcom gets bullish with Openreach

Posted on Mar 22 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Ofcom gets bullish with Openreach

Building on last month’s Strategic Review of Digital Communications wherein BT was reprieved of a full split from Openreach, Ofcom has today published its draft Business Connectivity Market Review of the £2bn Leased Lines market. The findings mean that BT will be forced to open its Dark Fibre to competitors by October 2017 as well as fixing faults within 5 hours, reducing the average install time to 40 days (which hasn’t been achieved since 2011) and lowering wholesale prices, with the aim of making this premier connectivity solution more affordable to businesses across the country.

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Ofcom on Openreach – yet another missed opportunity

Posted on Feb 25 2016 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Ofcom on Openreach – yet another missed opportunity
Categories : BT, Ofcom, Regulation

BT must have breathed a sigh of relief this morning when it was confirmed that Openreach would not be split off from the Group as a result of Ofcom’s once-in-a-decade strategic review. Other industry players, Entanet included, are not quite so thankful.

While we welcome Ofcom’s recognition that Openreach requires reform in order to improve services across the industry on behalf of British consumers, ultimately we believe that the regulator has wasted this opportunity to effect real change. The crux of the issue for us has always been that, with its effective monopoly, Openreach has been allowed to fall into a stupor of delivering poor service to both industry competitors; who are forced to use it in delivering the last mile and fault fixes; and customers alike. It has, in effect, been allowed to bring the industry into disrepute.

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The impact of Openreach’s FTTC install changes

Posted on Feb 23 2016 by Neil Watson | 1 Comment
Categories : Broadband, BT, Fibre, Reselling

Industry has argued against it since it was first mooted in 2014, but from 16th March BT Openreach will no longer be supplying a modem on fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installations (including upgrades from ADSL/2+). While Openreach say that this industry-wide change will simplify provision by dispensing with the need to book an engineer appointment, in reality we think the advantages and disadvantages will be more widely felt. As a wholesale supplier, we are wary of the impact on both resellers and consumers – especially in terms of the potential for confusion and misunderstandings.

Two new installation options will be available in place of the withdrawn product, both of which require the consumer to supply and connect their own Openreach-approved modem/routing device.

Option 1 is a standard installation and will see an engineer complete a ‘wires only’ connection at the PCP (primary connection point, aka the cabinet) and will not visit the consumer’s premises. This means that the NTE5 faceplate will not be changed and the consumer will need to fit VDSL filters to all extensions in order to complete the installation.

Option 2 – a ‘managed’ installation – is available at an additional cost. With this service an engineer will visit the consumer premises to uplift any wiring and fit a service specific faceplate – they may also connect the modem/routing device if it’s available at the point of connection.

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2015 – The year in review

Posted on Dec 15 2015 by Darren Farnden | Comments Off on 2015 – The year in review

It’s certainly been an eventful year within the industry, with plenty of innovations and new technologies and trends emerging, an abundance of regulatory changes both UK and EU based, industry process changes with things like the new switching process and channel unrest with a clear backlash against BT’s relationship with Openreach. We’ve tried to keep you up to date and informed about the key issues that affect you and your customers as part of this fascinating channel, as well as providing useful eBooks and sales advice along the way too.

If you missed any of the blog this year and would like a quick recap, why not download our ‘2015- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook and have a catch up over the holidays. Simply enter your email address into the form field below to receive your free copy. 

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BT bites back in Openreach split debate

Posted on Oct 20 2015 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on BT bites back in Openreach split debate
Categories : BT, Ofcom, Regulation

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!

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What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!

Posted on Sep 24 2015 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | Comments Off on What’s better than superfast broadband? Why, ultrafast broadband of course!
Categories : Broadband, BT, Digital Divide

BT’s Chief Executive Gavin Patterson has announced in laudable if vague terms “”We want to forge an ultrafast future for Britain and stand ready to help government deliver the broadband speeds necessary for every property to enjoy modern day internet services, such as high definition TV streaming and cloud computing,”

“Ultrafast” broadband means using the company’s new G.Fast technology which they have been trialling in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

What is G.Fast?

G.Fast is similar to FTTC but requires more spectrum and therefore only works over shorter copper cables, ideally less than 350m. The service is mainly installed within the existing fibre cabinets although where the premises are too far away it can utilise remote nodes or distribution points which are often located on top of existing telegraph poles or potentially put underground. This service reportedly delivers speeds of 300Mbps+ download and 50Mbps upload with plans to increase this through further trials.

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Should Ofcom force Openreach to split from BT?

Posted on Aug 26 2015 by Neil Watson | 6 Comments
Categories : BT, Ofcom, Regulation

Ofcom is reportedly considering the option of splitting Openreach from BT as part of its 10 year strategic review, a suggestion that has received a lot of support across the industry and beyond, most recently from Labour MP Chris Bryant. We certainly think it’s time that accountability was central to Openreach’s role, but is a complete split from BT the answer?

Anyone working within the Internet industry knows only too well the frustrations that are often felt from dealing with Openreach – the company with an effective monopoly on delivering the last mile to customers and the associated fault fixes (save for Hull, Virgin Media and smaller alt-nets) on the UK’s broadband network which is primarily owned by the incumbent- BT. However, would separating Openreach from BT completely really solve the service problems?

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