Communications regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation into whether BT’s Openreach service, its fixed-line network controlled and maintained by BT and which other providers use and pay for their own services, should be split-up into a separate company.
Providers have complained about its poor performance but BT asserts that it has improved with more engineers hired. In its most recent results it said Openreach was “running ahead of all 60 minimum service levels set by Ofcom for this year”.
BT shouldn’t panic yet as any potential action is years away but Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox says Ofcom must be strong.
“This is absolutely essential both for the benefit of customers and the rest of the industry. Currently there is no accountability of BT Openreach to anyone,” he states. “It would be different if BT would accept accountability for Openreach's continued failure to meet appointments and service level agreements – but they are refusing to do so, so its unsurprising Ofcom feels the need to act.”
He wants BT to be financially accountable for any Openreach failings such as missed appointments or poor service. “There needs to be a compensation mechanism to the end customer and suppliers for missed or cancelled appointments or failing to achieve their targets,” he states.