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.Read More »
Posted on Feb 02 2017 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | No Comments
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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.Read More »
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. Read More »