A new proposal released today (1stOctober 2018) between Ofcom and BT, sets out the legal separation of BT’s engineering division, Openreach, from its parent company, BT Retail.
Eric Carson, Chairman of Rainbow Communications, Northern Ireland’s largest independent business telecoms supplier, has broadly welcomed the proposal and what it will mean for the sector in Northern Ireland.
The proposal outlines the separation of Openreach, which manages tens of thousands of miles of copper and fibre lines throughout the UK, from BT Retail, to become Openreach Limited, with the transfer of around 31,000 employees.
Eric Carson, Chairman at Rainbow, said;
“We hope and expect that this will lead to positive changes within the wider industry which should ultimately benefit the customer.
“Though we have remaining concerns that Openreach is remaining 100% owned by the BT Group, and sits within its existing business structure, this decision to legally separate Openreach in so far that it has its own dedicated board, strategy and governance, gives us confidence that there will be greater transparency about its investments, strategy and plans.
“We will now be able to use our influence to pursue the new organisation in committing spend in Northern Ireland to improve broadband access and speeds in rural areas and the centre of Belfast – two areas that have suffered from poor investment in high speed broadband connections.
“We want the benefits of this deal to be seen quickly and we’re ready to consult and engage to ensure that all consumers can see real returns from this decision.”
“Rainbow has been lobbying for the distinct separation of BT Retail, BT Business and Openreach here in Northern Ireland for over 10 years. We’ve seen this as a vital component in delivering a competitive and fair telecoms market throughout the Province. This announcement by BT can only be a good thing for competition and ultimately our customer’s. With this separation it should be clearer that the Openreach network services both telecoms companies, like Rainbow, as well as BT Group businesses including BT Business and BT Retail.”Eric said.