Ofcom’s White looking at BT and Openreach rework

It could finally be the end of the road for the existing relationship between BT and its infrastructure subsidiary Openreach, Ofcom’s chief executive Sharon White has told the BBC.

White is currently evaluating BT’s superfast broadband provision.

Critics have lambasted BT for a lack of investment in Openreach and said it should sell the subsidiary.


Possible changes ahead

White’s comments are the strongest indication yet that the separation of the two, which has been mooted by many, may actually be at hand.

Ofcom’s chief executive detailed four possible options for the future of Openreach:

  • Persevering with the current arrangement
  • More deregulation
  • Structural separation of the two companies
  • Improving the current system with measures such as laying new superfast lines

White said it is simply not good enough that 2.5 million homes still have no access to broadband speeds of 10 megabits per second – something David Cameron recently promised will be available to all by 2020.


‘Very unlikely’ to continue with status quo

Speaking to the BBC, White said: “I think there will be change. We’re looking at a number of options, but I think it is very unlikely we will conclude that the status quo which has worked over the last 10 years is where we are likely to be over the next decade.”

A BT spokesperson said: “The UK’s broadband market compares well with other major European countries, but it has also changed beyond recognition in the past decade and regulation needs to be updated to reflect that.”

“We believe the current model works extremely well but there is always room for improvement and for deregulation given the UK market is now far more competitive than it was a decade ago.”

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