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BT Openreach's Chief Executive Joe Garner has hit back at criticism from industry regulator Ofcom over its fibre broadband rollout.

The division is responsible for implementing the fibre infrastructure needed to provide premises across the UK with superfast download speeds - deemed to be 24 Mbps or more.

There have been calls, often led by Ofcom, for Openreach to be split from BT, with critics claiming that some areas will be left behind by the rollout.

The criticism aimed at Openreach has been heightened by a letter sent to Digital Minister Ed Vaizey from MP Bob Neill, who is also co-chair of the new All-Party Parliamentary Group for London.

In the letter, Mr Neill claimed poor broadband standards could lead to London lagging behind other European cities.

However, in an interview with Radio 4's Today Programme, Mr Garner defended the work of Openreach, saying it is striving to ensure that the UK is in a "leading position" when it comes to fibre broadband rollouts.

He added that he understands the impatience expressed by those waiting to be upgraded, but noted that Openreach is set on building a fibre network at the fastest rate “of any country on the planet”.

Mr Garner told the BBC: “I can understand, but actually if you go back five years no-one had access to our fibre network and the rate that we’ve built is the fastest that we can find of any country on the planet so we are going at quite a rate.”

It comes a week after the government revealed that its Broadband Delivery UK scheme, most of which is being delivered by BT, has now reached out to more than three million homes and businesses across the country.

And Mr Garner insists Openreach remains focused on taking coverage of its superfast rollout to 95%.

He added: “I can tell you categorically our top priority is rolling out fibre to more and more of the country.

“We’re working in partnerships with local and central government, we’re well on our way to 95%, we’re leading Europe in that position and frankly I don’t want anything to get in the way of that."

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