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jeremy darroch sky

BT has been criticised by Sky for not putting enough money into fibre to the premises broadband.

According to Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive of Sky, BT has shown "little willingness" to invest in the technology, preferring instead to focus on gradual upgrades to "decades-old" copper cables.

"What it has chosen to invest in faster broadband, has come largely at the expense of investment needed to maintain the existing copper network, resulting in the service levels so many complain about," he commented.

Writing in the Times, Mr Darroch said this situation has arisen because there is one national infrastructure broadband network in the UK and BT "determines how fast it will be".

This, he stated, means it faces little competition and can therefore sweat its copper assets for as long as it can, safe in the knowledge that it will keep its "captive customers" and generate healthy profits even without fibre investment.

Mr Darroch suggested that it is naive to believe anything will change under the existing structure, insisting this will not deliver the 1Gbps speeds that Britain needs in order to remain competitive in a global market.

As a result, Sky is throwing its weight behind calls for BT and Openreach to be separated, a decision on which is set to be announced by Ofcom on Thursday (February 25th).

Mr Darroch stressed that this is not an issue that only affects commercial rivals. Instead, he said it "matters to us all", with consumers, small businesses, politicians and think tanks all agreeing that "the status quo is not an option".

"The potential for new technology to transform our society is limitless," he stated.

"If the UK is to improve its productivity and international competitiveness, and ensure our businesses, homes, schools and hospitals benefit from the latest technology, then we need better digital infrastructure including an ultrafast broadband network with speeds of 1Gbps or more, through fibre laid direct to homes and businesses."

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