This morning, telecoms regulator Ofcom has ordered BT to legally separate from its Openreach division. Openreach runs the UK's broadband infrastructure. Toople.com wholeheartedly welcomes this judgement.
Ofcom continued that Openreach should become a distinct company within the BT group. This direct notification from the regulator came because of BT not voluntarily addressing competition concerns Ofcom laid out in July 2016.
There’s a few steps to go; Ofcom will now prepare formal notification to the European Commission to start the process. Through Openreach, BT was responsible for supplying the entire broadband infrastructure throughout the UK. Despite requests, BT had not gone far enough to address its concerns about BT's ability to favour its own retail business. All businesses, including Toople.com, were being affected by BT’s decision to consider its own needs before others.
Openreach will become a distinct company with its own board, with non-executives and a chairperson not affiliated with BT. It also wants Openreach to have control over its branding and budget allocation. Many, including Toople.com, wanted Openreach to become an entirely separate organisation that treats all suppliers equally.
Ofcom’s decision this morning to separate Openreach, in our opinion, is long overdue. However, this can only be good news for UK’s burgeoning small business base. Moving forwards, this decision will ensure transparency of infrastructure investment, R&D and a cost base equitable to all service providers. This is great news for business consumers of broadband.
However, UK broadband speeds still lag behind the majority of Europe. Furthermore, the superfast fibre roll out only delivers to the local cabinet, which is often more than a mile away from the customer premise, and therefore speed declines when arriving at the customer premise. Unlike countries like Spain and Japan that deliver over 60% superfast fibre right to the door. With this directive from Ofcom, our broadband abilities will only improve. We await BT’s embracing of this decision; it’s good news for the UK all customers now MUST be treated equally.