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The deadline for Ofcom's broadband review is fast approaching - and an agreement with BT over Openreach's future is still not on the table.

Earlier this year, the watchdog published its Strategic Review of Digital Communication, which outlined a strategy to promote the rollout of ultrafast broadband facilities on a large scale, based on cable and fibre lines.

Although the regulator stopped short of demanding that Openreach be separated from BT, it did suggest that it be governed "at arm's length from BT, with greater independence in taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy". 

Ofcom had sought to resolve the questions over Openreach's future before its review of national broadband was published by the end of next week.

The regulator had wanted an agreement to be reached by this summer before it called on European regulators to intervene and drive the separation of Openreach from BT's consumer operations.

However, the Times understands that no consensus has yet been reached, despite BT suggesting ways it can increase transparency for customers and make Openreach more independent.

This means that BT could be about to lose the initiative, as the publication of Ofcom's recommendations might read to renewed calls among its rivals for Openreach to at least be established as a legally separate company.

TalkTalk, Sky and Vodafone recently joined an industry coalition calling for this to happen, arguing it would be a necessary first step to "true independence".

The recent EU membership referendum could further complicate the issue, as leaving the international bloc would mean BT is unable to appeal against an imposed separation in Brussels.

However, the timeline for exactly when the UK will pull out of the EU is still not confirmed, although Brexit secretary David Davis believes the process will be complete by December 2018.

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