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BT concessions to try and keep Openreach

BT Group will form a separate board for its Openreach business in a bid to persuade regulator Ofcom the company should not be split off. Shaken by political criticism and the threat of break up, BT chairman Sir Mike Rake has said there will be a board and separate investment control for Openreach.

Competitors and MPs have accused BT of not investing enough in Openreach, which controls the UK broadband network. Ofcom reports tomorrow on how Openreach will be run.

Sir Mike told the BBC: “We are absolutely willing to form an Openreach board, that will have an independent chairman and a majority of independent directors.”

In May, BT outlined plans to invest £6 billion (€7.2bn) over the next three years in faster broadband and mobile services. It plans to offer what it describes as “ultra-fast” broadband to 12 million premises by 2020, as well as improving coverage of faster 4G mobile services.

However, Sky has said the plan had “limited ambition” and called for BT to invest in the UK’s broadband fibre network. Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk have all lobbied for Openreach to be separated from BT.

On average, UK households received speeds of 29Mbps last year, according to regulator Ofcom.

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