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BT is damaging the customer service and reliability of its broadband offering by not investing in adequate maintenance in its national network, Sky claims.

That is the verdict of the rival TC and broadband provider, which has become embroiled in a public row over whether the country's former state telecoms monopoly should be broken up.

Joe Garner, the Chief Executive of Openreach, sparked debate in the Daily Telegraph on Monday (September 14th) when he argued the case for Openreach to remain part of BT.

Sky claims that spending cuts on maintenance services were causing “unacceptable levels of faults and service problems that continue to impact consumers and businesses”.

Both Sky and TalkTalk are urging industry regulator Ofcom to recommend that BT is forced to spin off Openreach, which is responsible for the physical infrastructure, and sells access at regulated prices.

Ofcom is already assessing the future of Openreach as part of its once-a-decade review, adding it is “seriously considering” a split as the most radical of four options.

Penning a recent article for the Daily Telegraph, Mai Fyfield, Sky’s Chief Strategy Officer, said: “BT’s case for the status quo is built on unfounded or exaggerated claims about the benefits of vertical integration and the risks of separation."

She added that the most frequent of these claims was that only BT would have invested £2.5 billion in the roll-out of fibre.

Yet Ms Fyfield responded: “In practice, fibre roll-out has been funded in part by cutting spending on other critical parts of the network, with service quality and reliability suffering as a result.”

That statement has been dismissed by Sean Williams, BT’s Group Director of Strategy, Policy and Portfolio, who told the newspaper: “This is plain untrue - no investments have been diverted away from Openreach. 

"BT Group has played a vital role by investing £10.5 billion of capital in to Openreach over the past 10 years.”

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