BT Parachutes in Extra Engineers to Clear Openreach Backlog

Ofcom has agreed to BT’s request for up 150 extra engineers to be shipped in on a daily basis from BT Global Services in order to clear the backlog of work building up in the new Openreach unit which was set up by BT to deliver equivalence of access to alternate carriers.

BT requested the variance from their contractual undertakings made with the industry regulator so that their Ofcom targets could be met. Currently BT is 20% below target on their undertakings.

In agreeing to BT’s request Ofcom has stipulated the need for BT’s Global Services engineers to respect customer confidentiality when undertaking their duties. The regulator has also said that this easement in the BT undertaking is extended only so far as 31 December 2006.

Richard Bligh from Gamma Telecom commented, “We are very pleased to see that both BT and Ofcom are addressing the situation. Whilst being fully supportive of Openreach’s aims, the progress in rectifying problems was becoming untenable, as there have clearly been issues in providing the service to Gamma and other carriers. It was our view that urgent action was required and these steps show that BT is taking its commitment seriously. We hope this is a signal that Openreach will meet its service targets in the not too distant future.”

Richard Bennett, Commercial Development Director for Coms.com says BT is holding back the industry again. “The next generation of voice and video requires quality of service and rapid adjustment. Not easy for such a large entity. No wonder companies like Sky are looking to put their own routers into BT centres.”

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