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December 5, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 11:57am

BT Chairman commits to boost superfast broadband after Ofcom Openreach decision

BT also pledges better customer service as Ofcom orders Openreach split.

By Alexander Sword

BT Chairman Michael Rake has admitted that the company needs to improve customer service as Ofcom looks to legally separate infrastructure arm Openreach.

Rake said that people were frustrated “because they want superfast broadband today”.

Speaking to Robert Peston on ITV’s Peston on Sunday programme, he said that his company understands this and is “committing to deliver it”.

He also said: “The point that I think is something that we have to work on is customer service, which has not in the industry as a whole been good enough nor is it with us, and we are doing a lot to improve that.”

Ofcom announced in late November that it was pressing on with plans to legally separate Openreach, claiming that BT has not done enough to address its competition concerns.

The regulator will implement plans proposed in July to establish Openreach as a legally separate company with its own board of directors without fully separating the company from the group.

BTThe proposals have been made in order to address longstanding accusations of a conflict of interest in BT owning Openreach. Currently rivals such as TalkTalk and Sky have to provide their consumer broadband services over the Openreach network.

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TalkTalk and Sky claim that customers have seen their services harmed by Openreach’s performance.

BT argues that UK services compare well to other countries and that its past and future investments in Openreach are responsible for this.

On the area that Rake singles out, customer service, BT has consistently generated some of the highest complaints in the industry.

In both Q1 and Q2 2016, the number of complaints per 1000 customers for BT was significantly higher than the industry average.

In Q2 BT’s figure was 26 compared to the average of 15 and in Q1 it was 31compared to 19.

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