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October 9, 2015

BT makes final stand on Openreach split

News: Consultation on Ofcom's review of the digital communications market closed 8 October.

By Alexander Sword

BT has made its formal submission to Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review, demanding that its ownership of Openreach remain intact.

In an implicit quid pro quo, the telecoms operator reiterated promises of continued investment into the network as long as "Openreach continues to provide regulated services to all companies on an equal basis."

BT claimed that the UK leads in the EU ‘big five’ with the others being Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

It also claimed that the average speed has risen from 1Mbps in 2005 to over 22 Mbps currently.

BT said in a statement that "others have failed to make a convincing and evidence-based case for change."

This refers to rivals such as TalkTalk and Sky, which argue that BT’s ownership of Openreach creates a conflict of interest and that they receive worse service as a result.

BT also took the opportunity to reiterate its ire at Sky’s dominance in the Pay TV market.

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"That dominance has led to poor outcomes for UK consumers and it is about time that converged regulation was introduced to deal with a converged market," said BT CEO Gavin Patterson. "The current lop sided approach isn’t serving customers well."

Ofcom is considering a split as one of a number of options during its current review of the communications market.

Despite momentum behind the campaign for the split, Paolo Pescatore, Director at CCS Insight, said yesterday that a full split is unlikely:

"For now it seems that the likely outcome is to retain the current functional separation (with additional remedies and stipulations) as Ofcom has said that its starting position is not that the Openreach model is broken."

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