Entanet has welcomed plans from Ofcom to make Openreach a seperate entity within BT but has called on the body to go further and make Openreach fully independent.
Openreach will become a legally seperate company within BT with its own board and brand. Ofcom made this decision because splitting BT from Openreach entirely would, it says, take too long.
Neil Watson, Entanet’s head of service, has called this claim a "cop-out", remaining sceptical as to "just how ‘independent’ Openreach will become while it is still a division within the BT Group."
Ofcom chief executive White stated of the plans: “This could bring about significant change. It will mean you have faster, more reliable broadband. It will mean engineers turning up on time and getting the job done first time. And crucially for the UK it will mean more investment in fast fibre to the doorstep.”
Currently only 2 per cent of the UK can receive fibre-based broadband compared with 70 per cent in Japan and 60 per cent in South Korea.
Watson was dismissive of the regulator’s message that Openreach will be obliged to consult formally with customers such as Sky and TalkTalk on large-scale investments.
He said: “That’s all every well but will Openreach, when it is still part of BT, actually do what BT’s competitors want? Also, and very importantly, what about the views of the hundreds of smaller service providers. Their views should matter as well.”
He says that the main challenge communications providers, ISPs and resellers face is meeting the needs and expectations of customers, whilst always being dependent on Openreach delivering services on time and in accordance with its responsibilities.
Hopefully Openreach will deliver on its promise of independence and significantly improve the number of people in the country who have access to fibre broadband which would only be a positive for consumers and retailers alike.