Sky has called for an urgent competition review into the state of the broadband market, claiming that BT’s Openreach division is failing consumers and the wider internet landscape.
Sky outlined numerous complaints about Openreach, claiming that it is responsible for “excessive network faults, failure to meet targets for repairing faults, long waits to have new lines installed, appointments that are missed and jobs that are not completed”.
As a result of this Sky is calling on Ofcom to ask the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to conduct an inquiry into Openreach, the outcome of which could even include turning Openreach into an independent company rather than a division of BT.
"In Sky’s view, the establishment of Openreach as an independent company would be a proportionate and effective way of addressing the significant problems described [in the submission]," the company said.
Mai Fyfield, Sky’s chief strategy officer, said that Ofcom should use its position to call for a wider inquiry so that the UK communications market does not suffer any longer.
"We are drawing attention to the problems in broadband because they are important to the economy as a whole. They affect competition between providers and have a direct impact on consumers and small businesses, resulting in inconvenience, dissatisfaction and loss of productivity," she said.
"The UK needs to get the basics right in broadband as well as develop the networks and services of the future.”
BT hit back at Sky, claiming that the submission is nothing more than “selective spin” and ignored many realities about Openreach.
"[Sky] claims that Openreach investment is down, yet it is up. They can only substantiate their claim by ignoring the billions of pounds we have pumped into fibre broadband,” the firm said in a statement.
"They also make claims about customer service whilst failing to acknowledge that Openreach has passed all 60 of the service targets it was set by Ofcom.”
BT also dismissed the idea of turning Openreach into an independent company. "It would lead to huge uncertainty and fundamentally undermine the case for future investment, dragging the UK backwards at the very time it needs important investment in its infrastructure," the company said.
The broadside from Sky was in response to Ofcom’s decennial Strategic Review of Digital Communications, published in March, as part of an effort to ensure that the UK communications market is functioning as effectively as possible.
Ofcom acknowledged the submission from Sky but did not comment further on its contents.
“Ofcom is carrying out an overarching review of the communications market, including questions around structure and competition,” a spokesperson said.
“We welcome evidence and analysis from all parties to help inform that work, and we will publish an update later in the summer.”
Sky's criticism of Openreach comes at the same time it was revealed that the Connected Devon and Somerset group decided not to sign a £35m contract with BT for a second-stage broadband deployment in the region after concerns that the deal did not represent value for money.
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