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mike rake bt

BT's Chairman has criticised those who are pushing for it to be separated from its infrastructure division Openreach.

Ofcom recently ordered BT to legally separate from Openreach, so it is run as a distinct and legally separate company with its own board.

However, Sir Mike Rake believes breaking up the firm at a time when it is carrying out upgrades on its network would be counterproductive.

Speaking to the Press Association, Sir Mike said: "We have invested £10 billion over the past ten years. Without us there would be nothing.

"Those who have criticised us were not willing to support fibre take-up when we started the investment."

Sir Mike pointed out that 95 per cent of the UK has been covered with superfast broadband.

Furthermore, he said this figure should be up to 97 or 98 per cent by 2020.

"I think common sense says, why would you do something to damage a great British company that is investing in the future and can complete that investment?" Sir Mike stated.

He added that BT is "hopeful" of reaching a solution regarding the future of Openreach.

Ofcom believes a legal separation of BT and Openreach would provide the infrastructure division with the greatest possible degree of independence without separating the companies entirely, and lead to decisions being taken for the good of its customers and the wider telecoms industry.

The watchdog has called for this approach as it feels BT has not done enough to ease its concerns over competition, particularly its belief that BT has the "incentive and ability to favour its own retail business when making strategic decisions about new network investments by Openreach".

Ofcom acknowledged that some progress has been made, but said it has been insufficient and "action is required now to deliver better outcomes for phone and broadband users".

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