Ofcom should ‘work on the presumption that Openreach should be split from the rest of BT’ according to shadow DCMS minister Chris Bryant.
Byrant used a letter to the Telegraph to accuse both the Government and Ofcom of not doing enough to improve rural mobile and broadband service.
The MP has been a vocal critic of government policy in the telecoms sector in the past, most significantly in his opposition of the Government’s policy ‘national roaming’ proposals.
Blaming the Government and BT for falling to do enough to develop the country’s broadband infrastructure, Bryant explained that the only remedy to poor service was a de-merged Openreach.
He said: ‘The situation is now so bad that Ofcom’s review should work on the presumption that Openreach should be split from the rest of BT unless their review produces conclusive evidence to the contrary. At the very least Openreach should be held accountable for its poor quality of service – the delays for repairs, the missed appointments and the months of waiting to switch providers.
‘But Ofcom also needs to be brought into focus. Essential to a strong and competitive broadband and telecoms market is a strong and effective regulator. Ofcom has done a remarkable job, but all too often its hands are tied behind its back. Its current rules prevent it from getting tougher with Openreach and every decision it makes has to be triple-checked in preparation for a potential lawsuit from network operators that have far deeper legal pockets than Ofcom.
‘This has made Ofcom far more cautious than is good for the industry or the consumer. It is time the Government stopped dithering and got on with reforming Ofcom’s overly burdensome appeals process. Mobile and broadband consumers have suffered far too long delays and businesses have suffered unnecessary regulatory uncertainty. Thus far, with a swath of the country still travelling at a snail’s pace digitally, the system has failed to deliver.’
To understand more about the BT Openreach debate click here.