BT launches access services division

BT launches access services division

Summary: Openreach may offer the UK its best chance for a generation of a truly fair and competitive telecoms market

TOPICS: Networking

BT will launch a new access services division called Openreach on Wednesday, which could bring more competition to Britain's telecoms sector.

Openreach will oversee the maintenance of BT's national telecoms network and the installation of new infrastructure. Although it is still part of BT, it has been fenced off from the rest of the organisation with its own headquarters and staff.

A crucial part of Openreach's role is to give every telecoms service provider fair and equal access to BT's network.

Last year, Ofcom threatened BT with a review under the Enterprise Act, which could have led to the company being split up, unless it took action. BT's response was to offer to create Openreach, which Ofcom accepted as part of a regulatory settlement in September.

Openreach will consist of around 30,000 employees — 25,000 of whom will be engineers — and is being headed up by chief executive Steve Robertson.

Analysts at Ovum met with Robertson last month, and reported that they were impressed with the progress made in the creation of Openreach.

"Some in the industry hope BT's undertakings will enable the industry to reach settlement on the arguments that have characterised the sector for the past 20 years. It is early days, but on the evidence so far, Openreach could be the catalyst around which the industry can achieve this," said Ovum analyst Mike Cansfield.

Topic: Networking

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  • And then Alice skipped happily after the white rabbit who disappeared down a hole in the bank....

    Um... lets look at this objectively: BT owns the major wireless player in the market, BT owns the major DSL player in the market, BT owns the major player in the LLU market. Their ownly independent competitor in the access market is NTL who provides an un-service.

    Reality dictates that Telecoms is still ruled by encumbents in the most horrible way. Wifi was the only hope but the Union run BT has snuffed that out too.

    Bollocks, I'm off after the white rabbit, at least in Wonderland I can pretend we have a vibrant open telecoms market in the UK...
  • About time that BT did this. It has been an anomaly to keep the hardware side tied to the user side for so long.
    But where on earth do BT get all these ridiculous names for various services.
    "Openreach" - rather a stupid meaningless word. Why not Network Services or some such thing that says what it means.
    It's the same with all the weird meaningless names they give their various telephone services.