A group of 121 MPs has called for Ofcom to split Openreach from BT and turn it into a private company to address the “dire” state of broadband in the UK.
The 'Broadbad' report by the British Infrastructure Group of MPs claimed that consumers and businesses suffer from Openreach’s failure to invest in fibre broadband services, leaving millions stuck on slow copper connections.
“We believe that Britain should be leading the world in digital innovation. Yet instead we have a monopoly company clinging to outdated copper technology with no proper long-term plan for the future,” the report stated.
“We need to start converting to a fully fibre network so we are not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace digital advancement. However, we will only achieve this by taking action to open up the sector.”
The MPs argued that the only way to address this is to shake up the current market set-up and split Ofcom from BT.
“Unless BT and Openreach are formally separated to become two entirely independent companies, little will change. They will continue to paper over gaping cracks,” said the report.
“Whilst rural SMEs and consumers are left with dire speeds, or even no service at all, Openreach makes vast profits and finds little reason to invest in the network, install new lines or even fix faults in a properly timely manner.”
Unsurprisingly, BT took issue with the report, calling it “misleading and ill-judged”.
“The idea that there would be more broadband investment if BT’s Openreach infrastructure division became independent is wrong-headed. As a smaller, weaker, standalone company, it would struggle to invest as much as it does currently.”
BT also claimed that other reports, such as from Ofcom, have placed the UK as the leading nation in the EU for broadband and superfast broadband.
“Ninety percent of UK premises can already access a fibre optic broadband connection. That will soon climb to 95 percent and above,” the firm added.
The call to split Openreach from BT echoes those from BT rivals such as Sky and TalkTalk, which also believe that an independent Openreach would be better for the UK's broadband network.
The debates come as Ofcom investigates whether there is justification for ordering such a split during its current decennial report into the UK telecoms market.
The new processors support Intel's Optane memory acceleration technology
Blockchain's killer app is bitcoin, the rest is mostly 'pure marketing', says MaidSafe's David Irvine
Blockchains are not suited to many of the data security purposes being put forward for them
Applications from some member states were down more than 40 per cent
A new RSA report urges coders to sign a 'Hippocratic Oath' before embarking on AI programmes.