Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was critical of BT’s ‘monopoly’ last month, has welcomed Ofcom’s order to open up Openreach.
BT must open up its Openreach network, which provides the final mile of network connection into consumers’ homes, to allow rivals to build their own advanced fibre networks connected directly to homes and offices.
It comes as the regulator concluded the UK must ‘do better’ at rolling out superfast broadband and 4G mobile.
Ofcom also stressed it had ‘absolutely not’ ruled out full structural separation but was looking at alternatives to achieve the same goals more quickly and with potentially less disruption to consumers.
Mrs Trevelyan, a member of the group of MPs behind the Broadbad report, said “I am pleased Ofcom recognises that Openreach has been acting in the interests of BT, not its customers. Openreach has so far received £1.7billion in taxpayer subsidies to connect harder-to-reach areas of the UK to superfast services, but has repeatedly failed to deliver, particularly here in Northumberland.
“I will continue to do all I can to campaign for a better deal for consumers and I look forward to Ofcom’s final proposals on how to tackle this monopoly which is not acting in the best interests of customers.”
Responding to the Broadbad report, a BT spokeswoman said: “Looking at the picture nationally, independent data from the regulator Ofcom, the EU and others repeatedly place the UK number one for broadband and superfast broadband when compared to other large EU countries. BT is the only company that has spent billions of pounds delivering broadband to both urban and rural communities.”
Other aspects of digital review
As part of its digital review, Ofcom will also ensure Openreach will be subject to tougher, minimum requirements to repair faults and install new lines more quickly. These will set higher minimum standards and extend to other aspects of performance, such as how often faults occur.
Mrs Trevelyan also praised new measures to compensate customers for poor service, saying: “I am pleased to hear from Ofcom that it intends to introduce automatic compensation for consumers and businesses when things go wrong. Broadband, landline and mobile customers will no longer have to seek redress themselves, but will instead receive refunds automatically for any loss or reduction of service. I will continue to lobby Ofcom to ensure that proposal becomes a reality.”