What does BT Openreach do?
BT Openreach is the infrastructure division of BT Group, which manages the local network between your local BT exchange and the phone socket or fibre termination point in your home or business. This is also known as the ‘last mile’.
BT Openreach engineers visit customer premises on behalf of BT Retail, BT Wholesale, and more than 400 ISPs and fixed phone providers such as Sky and TalkTalk, which use the BT network. They install and maintain the copper wiring and fibre connections throughout the UK, except for the Kingston Communications area in Hull.
BT Openreach’s main project beyond maintaining its network is a £2.5 billion upgrade of most exchanges and their streetside cabinets for fibre-optic broadband. This is being delivered as both FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) at up to 80Mbps and FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) at up to 330Mbps.
What’s the difference between BT Group plc, BT Retail and BT Openreach?
BT Openreach was established in 2006, following an investigation by the British communications regulator, Ofcom, which found that BT had an unfair advantage in the wholesale and retail supply of internet and telephone services over competing ISPs and phone providers, who use the BT network.
BT Openreach is wholly owned BT Group, but it must provide fair and equal access to the last mile network for all telecom operators, whether BT Retail or BE. Its prices are monitored and regulated by Ofcom.
What services does BT Openreach provide?
BT Openreach’s services range from domestic phone, DSL broadband and fibre-optic broadband, through to leased-line ‘Ethernet’ services with high bandwidth and reliability, and very high bandwidth optical connections for business at up to 10Gbps.
BT Openreach also supplies telecommunications project management, engineering, advisory and survey services to industry.
How can I contact BT Openreach?
Domestic and business users usually contact BT Openreach via their ISP, which arranges installation, repair and service visits.
Members of the public can alert BT Openreach to damaged or vandalised street cabinets, telegraph poles, manhole covers and so on, on 0800 0232023 or via a dedicated contact form.
Complaints about BT Openreach or enquiries about its equipment and work can be submitted here.
News stories for BT Openreach
- Saturday morning installation and repairs coming this month
- Street cabinet NIMBYs in West Sussex collide with BT
- Openreach engineer army recruited to fight fibre war
News stories for BT Openreach
What's new for BT Openreach?
Openreach has announced that customers will soon be able to ask for broadband and home phone services installed on Saturday mornings as well as during the week.
As well as installation, there’ll also be scope for repairs to be made on Saturday mornings.
A BT spokesperson said: "Openreach recognises that having broadband and phone services installed in the week isn't convenient for everyone. We have decided to work with other service providers so that Saturday morning installations can now be an option."
The proposed window isn’t big - it’s 7:00AM to 8:00AM - but it’ll no doubt be good news for those workaholics who can’t afford to take time off for an engineer visit in the week.
Openreach aims to have Saturday morning installs running from the 20th of October onwards. It’s not yet known which of the ISPs - TalkTalk, Sky, Orange and the rest - will be signing up, but we’ll update once we know more.
October 18, 2012
BT Openreach has delayed rollout of superfast broadband in the West Sussex town of Midhurst for five weeks, due to conflict over a street cabinet.
The positioning of a new BT cabinet on a narrow part of Chichester Road led to concerns that the cabinet, taking up a third of pavement space, would make it difficult for those with pushchairs or wheelchairs to pass.
BT Openreach is now looking in to relocating the cabinet. Talking to the Midhurst and Pentworth Observer, a spokesperson said “we have been looking into this and although the previous location was deemed acceptable, as a goodwill gesture we carried out further investigations into seeing whether the cabinet could be placed adjacent to the existing cabinet already at the site. We will be submitting plans to the council planning department this week.”
This echoes BT's previous efforts to relocate a street cabinet in Polperro, as part of Superfast Cornwall and redraw plans to connect more premises in Kirby-le-Soken, Kirby Cross and Great Holland, Essex.
August 23, 2012
BT Openreach will add 400 more engineers to the 600-head recruitment drive it announced earlier this year to drive the rollout of fibre broadband to the UK.
Many of the 1,000 new engineers are expected to be former armed forces personnel, said Openreach, adding that the new recruits will also help it tackle repairs to the existing network, which has been heavily stretched by this year's extreme weather.
August 22, 2012