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Ofcom has said it plans to keep a close eye on the legal separation of Openreach from BT.

Earlier this year, BT agreed to the watchdog's demand for its infrastructure subsidiary to become a distinct and legally separate company.

As part of this agreement, Openreach is required to offer its own distinctive branding, with any traces of BT's imagery removed to reflect its greater independence.

The deal with Ofcom also means that Openreach is being run by a newly-established board, the majority of which consists of directors independent of BT.

Ofcom has this week outlined its planned programme of work for the next financial year, which includes a commitment to closely scrutinising the process of separating Openreach from BT.

"We will assess how far Openreach is improving its network and delivering better quality of service," the watchdog said.

This comes shortly after Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom, praised BT for making "positive progress" towards implementing the governance reforms".

However, she said Ofcom will "keep a careful eye on whether Openreach is working for telecoms users, ensuring BT and Openreach live by the letter and spirit of their commitments".

Ms White also stressed that the regulator will not "hesitate to act" if it sees any problems emerging.

Ofcom's work programme for 2018-19 also includes a call for the broadband industry to step up investment in new fibre networks, as it believes they can provide faster and more reliable broadband, as well as help support the UK’s future economy.   "We will continue to work with industry to support investment between different companies in full-fibre and 5G mobile infrastructure," the regulator added.

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