Ofcom announces measures to monitor legal separation of BT from Openreachsamiragazzane
In March 2017, BT announced its voluntary agreement to legally separate from Openreach, its network division, with the latter becoming a distinct company with its own staff, management and strategy. Ofcom announced today how it will monitor progress towards the legal separation and measure the results.
Prior to legal separation, Openreach implemented a series of reforms designed to strengthen its governance, appointing in November 2016 Mike McTighe as the independent Chairman of a newly-created Board. The Board is accountable for setting the strategy, aiming to ensure that all Openreach customers are treated equally, and that the company invests in better service, broader coverage and faster speed broadband. In May 2017, Openreach issued a consultation on how it engages with communication providers on new strategic initiatives.
Ofcom’s new dedicated Monitoring Unit will be assessing how Openreach is delivering on these objectives and measuring the results in the market in terms of availability of fibre broadband, coverage of “decent” broadband, and changes in quality of service.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The new Openreach will be built to serve all its customers equally, acting independently and taking investment decisions on behalf of all its customers. BT has made positive progress towards implementing the reforms. Once they are complete, 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. If we see problems emerging, we won’t hesitate to act.”
Ofcom will be reporting on its findings on a six-monthly basis after BT’s commitments come into effect, then annually.