Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Could BT be forced to sell off Openreach as UK govt pushes for full fibre roll out?

By Chris Kelly, Total Telecom
Monday 12 February 18

Openreach has recently pledged to deliver 3 million fibre to the home connections, but the UK govt wants 10 million by the mid-2020s

The UK government could be prepared to revisit the possibility of separating BT from its network subsidiary Openreach, according to reports in the British press. Sources in Westminster told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the UK government was becoming "…

The UK government could be prepared to revisit the possibility of separating BT from its network subsidiary Openreach, according to reports in the British press. Sources in Westminster told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the UK government was becoming "extremely frustrated" by the slow pace of fibre to the home (FTTH) initiatives being rolled out by the former telecoms incumbent.
 
Last month, Openreach announced plans to provide FTTH connectivity to 3 million homes in the UK by 2020.  While this represented a 50% increase on its previous pledge, it appears that the initiative has not gone far enough to curry favour with Mrs May's government.
 
Openreach's target of delivering 3 million FTTH connections by 2020 is being dwarfed by initiatives from smaller companies with far smaller budgets, leading to growing frustration in Westminster.  Last year CityFibre announced plans to bring 5 million FTTH connections to the UK by the mid-2020s, and a number of small, specialist providers have announced plans to bring full fibre services to Britain's rural communities.    
 
Full fibre broadband will enable massive development of Britain's digital economy. The UK government wants to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place as early as possible to facilitate growth in the potentially tricky post-Brexit period. Frustration is growing in Westminster at BT's perceived lack of willingness to invest in full fibre infrastructure.
 
“They have the cash, the people, and an existing UK-wide network to quickly deliver full fibre; but they don’t have the willingness or freedom to invest from BT Group. It’s clearly time to think again – Openreach needs to be set free from BT,” an industry insider told the Daily Telegraph.
 
Britain's FTTH connectivity will be at the very heart of the agenda at this year's Connected Britain event. Click here for a full agenda and to find out how you can be part of the discussion.  

 

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