MP’s say BT not investing enough in Openreach infrastructure and services
In a report published by the Commons Select Committee this week, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee criticise BT and it’s under investment of the Openreach subsidiary.
MPs say BT’s Openreach service levels are poor, with capital investment broadly unchanged since 2009. They accuse BT of putting its own interests before those of shareholders and customers, including investing in high risk activities, such as Premier League and Champions League TV rights ahead of investment in profitable lower risk infrastructure and services through Openreach. The report estimates a shortfall in infrastructure investment of hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
Threats to separate Openreach from the BT group if services do not improve
Ofcom have already criticised BT’s lack of investment in broadband networks and cabling, suggesting it open up its infrastructure to competitors and threatening big fines if the service does not improve. The Commons Select Committee fully supports Ofcom’s plans for separating Openreach from the BT Group should it fail to make the necessary reforms. The report says BT’s lack of transparency in terms of Openreach’s costs and deployment has stifled local competition and thwarted other network providers’ planning.
The committee even went so far as saying Ofcom had not pushed BT enough to improve Openreach’s service. It is demanding BT invest significantly more in Openreach, improving quality of service and allowing Openreach much more autonomy over what it invests, when and where.
Concerns lie with the households and businesses in the “final five percent”, for whom there is little or no broadband coverage. The reports states BT should provide some form of interim technology to help improve connectivity for these households and businesses.
The report brings together the opinions and advice from a panel of expert advisers. This includes nationally recognised specialists in finance, regulation, communications and infrastructure provision.
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