Entanet is asking whether the UK communications industry needs Openreach not only to be separated from BT but also to be split into two bodies that can effectively address the different needs of UK businesses and consumers.
In the latest article on its opinion website, Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing at the company, contends that with BT and its major rivals Sky and Virgin increasingly focused on the consumer market, the needs of UK businesses are in danger of being side-lined. This could lead to the UK falling further behind other nations on the global stage at a time when it needs to be at its competitive best.
“What we may well need in the end is separate and distinct investment in infrastructure for business and consumer networks” he writes. “This will become more of an issue if the UK falls further behind other countries in terms of its broadband access speeds. Post-Brexit, being able to compete globally – to have your finger on the pulse and respond quickly to customers wherever they are – will become even more important. Within two or three years, British businesses will be demanding much higher speeds than they can get today. If they are not, something will be badly wrong.”
He also notes that, with BT now focusing as much on media and entertainment as connectivity, the split from Openreach may in fact be beneficial to the company, as it means BT won’t be fighting on as many fronts. Instead it can focus on the battle for supremacy in the consumer market, which is now largely about winning the rights to content, such as Champions League and Premier League football, and using them to drive consumer sign-ups.