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BT has admitted it has been surprised by the level of criticism against the company and Openreach.

The likes of Sky and TalkTalk have been strong critics of BT in recent months, while Ofcom recently ordered it to legally separate from Openreach, so it is run as a distinct and legally separate company with its own board.

The watchdog believes this is necessary as 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".

Speaking last week at the Deloitte and Enders Analysis Media & Telecoms conference, BT Chief Executive Gavin Patterson said: "Around the DCR (Digital Communications Review), I think it is fair to say we underestimated the degree of criticism in our service and in our levels of investment, this has eroded trust in our brand."

However, he insisted BT has taken on board the criticism and will consider the interests of its Openreach customers when making investment decisions, Reuters reports.

Mr Patterson also said he hopes to reach an agreement with Ofcom on BT's future relationship with Openreach.

"When it comes to our customers, let me be absolutely clear, our service must get better," he added.

As part of an effort to boost its transparency and autonomy, Openreach has recently appointed four independent directors to its newly-established board.

According to the organisation, the number of independent directors is higher than the number of executive board members.

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