Is This the End of BT Openreach?

Business broadband customers around the country received some interesting news last week: Ofcom are considering a mandatory separation of BT and their utility sector, Openreach, making them two distinct companies. Ofcom have opened up the floor for businesses to have their voices heard, and this is your chance to help influence the future of business broadband. If you’re confused about the proposed changes, and about what a separation could mean for business broadband, here’s the lowdown:

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What are BT and Openreach?

BT is one of the UK’s biggest telecoms companies, offering high speed businesses broadband for companies wanting a fast and reliable connection. Openreach, on the other hand, isn’t a business broadband provider. Instead, it’s the company that owns the pipes and telephone cables that telecoms companies and business broadband providers like BT use to provide a service to their clients.

Why a Separation?

It’s not just BT that uses Openreach to provide business broadband services to their clients, it’s a lot of business broadband providers, like TalkTalk, too. Back in 2005, Ofcom imposed regulations which meant that Openreach was legally obligated to treat all of their business broadband providers equally, but it turns out this wasn’t enough to improve business broadband in the UK. Why? Because Openreach is a part of the BT Group, which means that BT maintains a strong influence over how Openreach operates.

There are some who are saying that this influence that BT have over Openreach has created an Openreach that only really benefits BT themselves. Ofcom claim that a more independent Openreach could bring many advantages to business broadband customers, such as a greater choice of networks, improved coverage, and a more reliable service. BT have reportedly offered to give Openreach more independence within the BT Group, but apparently this proposal did not address all concerns.

Have Your Voice Heard

Before implementing any changes, Ofcom are asking for your opinion not only on the proposal itself, but also relating to how Ofcom plan to implement the separation. This is your chance to have your say and help shape the future of business broadband in the UK. There are three ways you can respond to the proposal: Online, by email, or by post to David Michels, Ofcom, Riverside House, 2A Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA . So what are you waiting for? Got an opinion? Then share it!

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