Less than 48 hours before Valentine's Day and a fortnight after Openreach pledged to deploy fiber to 3 million homes by 2020, frustrated British government officials want to dissolve the relationship between BT and Openreach.
Ostensibly, the two companies are separate -- yet BT has not implemented a legal structure that allows Openreach to operate independently. And BT is the only shareholder, overseeing the purse strings and ignoring Openreach management's pleas to upgrade 10 million lines to fiber, reported The Telegraph.
Openreach Could Stand Alone in Its High-Speed Strategy
Openreach new development planner plots the best route. (Source: Openreach)
As smaller players ramp up their fiber deployments, Openreach moved slowly to increase its fiber-to-the-premise strategy by 50%. At this rate, Openreach will reach the 10-million FTTP mark by mid-2020, said CEO Clive Selley.
By the end of last year, Openreach reported its fiber broadband passed 27.4 million premises: Of those, 886,000 connected to speeds of 100Mbit/s or greater via FTTP or Gfast. Within its third quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2017), Openreach made 600,000 fiber broadband net connections, according to its earnings report. At the end of calendar 2017, Openreach had about 9.2 million fiber subscribers versus 7.2 million 12 months prior, it said.
To be more aggressive, BT wants tax cuts and a more favorable regulatory environment, the Telegraph reported. The government is querying customers -- which include BT's consumer group, as well as telcos such as Vodafone, TalkTalk and Sky -- for feedback on a truly separate Openreach, a government source told the newspaper.
"Lots of investors are now seeing the potential of full fiber. BT and Openreach have more to gain than most but are not investing properly. We need to look at why," the source told the Telegraph.
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