Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator, has ordered BT to open up its Openreach network to rivals. In its Strategic Review of Digital Communication, Ofcom concluded that UK must ‘do better’ at rolling out superfast broadband and 4G mobile.
Openreach, a subsidiary of BT, owns the infrastructure that connects nearly all businesses and homes in the UK to the national broadband and telephone network. Recently, the provider has received a lot of criticism over the quality of the service it provides with customers reporting problems with installations and high costs of cables.
However, trouble with Openreach spreads beyond BT’s customers; the provider has also been condemned by Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone for poor record on repairs as well as lack of investment on infrastructure upgrades.
Ofcom has not only requested changes to Openreach governance but also reserved the right to require a break up from BT if necessary. Moreover, the provider’s ducts and poles will be open to competitors, allowing them to build their own FTTP networks. The company will also be required to provide data on the nature and location of the ducts and poles.
With the new orders in place, Ofcom hopes to make the market more competitive by supporting investment by rival operators and reduce nation’s dependence on Openreach.
Ofcom Chief Executive, Sharon White commented: “People across the UK today need affordable, reliable phone and broadband services. Coverage and quality are improving, but not fast enough to meet the growing expectations of consumers and businesses”.
At Opus we believe that this is the beginning of a major transformation in the UK’s telecoms industry. With access to Openreach’s ducts and poles, many connectivity providers will now have the ability to deliver better service with their own unique broadband and connectivity products without being constrained by Openreach’s limitations.
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