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Ofcom rules that BT can keep Openreach – comment from Askar Sheibani, CEO of Sorrento Networks and the Comtek Group

Ofcom has this morning announced the long-awaited conclusion of its Strategic Review of Digital Communication; in particular its review of BT’s relationship with Openreach, and whether the infrastructure arm should be spun off from the telecoms giant. Ofcom has fallen short of forcing BT and Openreach to separate, but the watchdog has called for better governance within Openreach, and closer collaboration with other telecoms providers to improve service levels.

Askar Sheibani, CEO of Sorrento Networks, part of the Comtek Group, has made the following comments:

“Any business that has waited for Openreach to provision a leased line – which typically takes months – will welcome the news that the company today finds itself under increased scrutiny from Ofcom. With better governance, more transparency, and by giving other service providers improved access to ducts and poles, the UK telecoms market is about to get considerably more competitive, which should provide a real boost to the UK’s digital economy. BT’s commitment to invest an additional £1 billion in Openreach to expand the provision of superfast broadband is particularly encouraging.

“It is very interesting that, if the necessary changes aren’t made to the way Openreach operates, Ofcom could still force a split from BT. This may suggest that Ofcom still isn’t completely confident that the new structure is going to make the desired difference. I tend to agree.

“BT’s continued ownership of Openreach still presents a major conflict of interest that has the potential to hinder market competition. Although today’s ruling is a big step in the right direction, I believe it would be better for telecoms industry, and business in general, if the underlying telecoms infrastructure was owned and managed by a completely independent body, much like the role National Rail takes with Britain’s railways.”

Media Contacts
Claire Ayles
Comtek Team at Finn Partners, incorporating Johnson King PR
Phone:020 7017 8421