Regulator Ofcom has announced plans to enhance digital communications in the UK for everyone, by overhauling the Openreach division of BT.
At the moment BT and Openreach are too closely linked, meaning that the business interests of BT are directly affecting the service provided by Openreach, who is in charge of developing and maintaining the UK’s telephone and broadband networks used by the likes of Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and BT Consumer.
The new proposal from Ofcom essentially separates BT’s business drives from Openreach and splits the two companies. In this way, Openreach should be able to focus on offering the best service, rather than competing for profit with those it provides infrastructure to.
Rules that should ensure fair service provision and progress at Openreach include Openreach becoming a distinct company from BT with its own board, holding executives to account. Openreach will also enjoy greater consultation with customers, its own individual workforce and ownership of its own physical network, branding and budgeting, completely separated from BT’s own setup.
Physical access to the network pipes is also being made even more simple, so that companies can use the fibre networks to connect even more people and businesses in the UK.
Other more direct results for customers include better compensation for failed services, easier switching between providers and better coverage checkers.
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: “We’re pressing ahead with the biggest shake-up of telecoms in a decade, to make sure the market is delivering the best possible services for people and business across the UK.”