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BT's proposed merger with EE could harm the quality of the Openreach network, Sky has warned.

The deal, which was approved by the Competition Markets Authority at the end of October, comes amid accusations from both customers and rival providers that Openreach is under-performing on service delivery, fault fixing and general performance.

Those concerns have been echoed by Alan Sewell, Sky’s Chief Economist, who in an interview with ISPreview said that BT's pursuit of EE was just another sign that Openreach is not at the top of its list of priorities.

"Various factors have contributed to Openreach’s poor quality of service," he said.

"Openreach is not prioritised by BT Group management in terms of internal resource, management time and effort – and this situation will only worsen with the addition of mobile following the acquisition of EE. Additionally, Openreach operates as a cash cow for BT.

"This has led to under-investment in the copper network on which all broadband is still reliant, with a rise in faults as a result."

Mr Sewell continued by once again arguing that Openreach should separate from BT in order to make progress, echoing a previous statement from Sky back in October.

He continued: "We believe that an independent Openreach focused entirely on the operation of its network, and with a desire to establish a reputation for excellence, would have a very different culture and ethos than it does as part of a large BT Group."



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