Telecom Coalition Calls for Reform

C Pateman FCS

Britain’s telecoms providers are throwing down a challenge to Ofcom to deliver on its promises to reform BT’s Openreach subsidiary and future-proof Britain’s voice and broadband capabilities.

The all-industry coalition represents business comms providers, major consumer brands Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone, and the ‘alternative network’ providers of next-generation connectivity. In an open letter this morning, it presents Ofcom CEO Sharon White with a 10-point road-map to ensure Openreach is fit to equip the nation for the challenges of tomorrow.

“We believe it’s vital the people who decide what ‘good’ looks like should be Openreach’s customers,” says Chris Pateman, CEO of the Federation of Communication Services, whose members specialise in serving Britain’s 5million business customers. “Frankly, FCS was disappointed Ofcom’s review of digital communications stopped short of recommending the complete structural separation of Openreach from the BT Group. Ofcom believe improvements can be delivered without the hassle and delays of a full separation: our 10 point plan represents the industry’s proposals on how this can be accomplished.

“Importantly, as our plan makes clear, we believe this can be accomplished swiftly and cost-effectively, using well-proven corporate governance principles. And it can be benchmarked against experience from other regulated utilities, both in the UK and overseas.

“We are throwing down a challenge, underpinned by sound research and experience. A challenge to Ofcom, Openreach and the industry to work together to shape the future for the good of all market players and all customers.”