UK communications regulator Ofcom has published its first progress report on the legal separation of Openreach from its parent company BT.
BT agreed in March 2017 to Ofcom’s requirements to make Openreach – which runs the UK’s main phone and broadband network – a distinct company. This means Openreach having its own staff, management and strategy, and a legal purpose to serve all of its customers equally.
Since then, the companies have been implementing these changes, which represent the biggest reform of Openreach in its history.
Ofcom’s Openreach Monitoring Unit has been assessing work by BT and Openreach to implement the new arrangements, measuring their performance against a set of agreed commitments.
The report finds that, while progress towards legal separation has been broadly satisfactory, with many of the governance changes now implemented, some remaining steps have yet to be completed.
Findings from the report:
Ofcom has also been monitoring progress in Northern Ireland, where BT’s Northern Ireland Networks delivers the services provided by Openreach in the rest of the UK. Improved governance measures and additional staff training in Northern Ireland have been put in place.
Ofcom is closely monitoring the outstanding implementation steps, to ensure they are completed without further delay.
It will continue to monitor progress on implementation through regular reports. These will also assess, using a range of measures, how far Openreach’s behaviour and performance is delivering positive changes for the industry.