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Friday, February 26, 2016

BT's last chance?

As somebody who has not been impressed with BT's performance in providing super fast broadband in my region, I have every sympathy with those who suggest that the yesterday's regulatory judgement is the last chance for BT and Ofcom to prove that the industry in its current form and with its current regulatory regime can put customers first and give them the service they want.

The Telegraph says that shares in  BT ended the day almost 5 per cent up as investors breathed a sigh of relief that Ofcom had not after all decided to force the company to sell off its Openreach division. Openreach operates the phone and broadband network that BT’s rivals must use. That is an arrangement that rivals say makes it harder for them to compete properly with BT in the provision of services:

Ofcom found that Openreach “has an incentive to make decisions in the interests of BT, rather than BT’s competitors”. This “can lead to competition problems”. The people who suffer from those problems are consumers, especially in rural areas, where it is hard or even impossible to get access to broadband at reasonable speeds. Some 2.5 million homes still do not have access to superfast broadband.

BT insists that it can and will remedy such problems, admitting there is “more to do”, especially for rural customers. The company is somewhat vague about what that means, but it must include better customer service. It is a fact that connecting remote households to the fastest networks costs more than it does for urban ones. But that does not excuse being slow to answer customers’ concerns. BT’s tight grip on networks may date to its time as a state-owned monopoly, but that is no reason for customers being treated as though they were living in the dark days before privatisation.

So say all of us. I am not convinced though that this approach will work either. At some stage Ofcom will need to get tough with BT. Do they have the cojones to do that?
Good post, its a wonder that Blue wave internet (carmarthen) have avoided scrutiny after gainingg welsh govt grant to provide rural internet (non BT) to properties in deep rural areas via rural wi-fi posts and completely and miserably failing, sending out leaflets with promises and not delivering, no prior research on whatbproperties they can reach and which they cannot
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