A trade body representing more than 90 next-generation voice providers has cautiously greeted plans announced by Ofcom this morning to give Openreach more autonomy from BT.
BT must give Openreach greater independence and open up its telegraph poles and underground tunnels to rivals to build their own advance fibre networks directly to homes and offices, Ofcom said as it gave its initial conclusions of its once-in-a-decade Strategic Review of Digital Communications.
This will give business and consumer customers more choice, Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said.
Although the verdict did not go far enough for some, the ITSPA – a trade body that represents a multitude of VoIP and next-generation providers including Gamma, Inclarity, Snom, as well as BT itself – broadly welcomed the proposals.
"We believe that Ofcom's proposals for further scrutiny and an increased focus on service quality will ensure a fairer marketplace for all Openreach customers while also supporting vital investment in faster broadband services," said ITSPA chair Eli Katz.
"We also support the proposals to encourage the rollout of new 'fibre to the premise' networks by ensuring competitors have better access to BT's mast and duct infrastructure. This will improve competition, drive up performance and service levels as well as reduce costs for both individuals and businesses in the UK."
Ofcom said that if functional separation didn't succeed in making Openreach independent from BT, it would "reserve the right to take forward structural separation".
However, TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding said Ofcom could have gone further, arguing that only a complete split would ensure "BT isn't the one making the decisions on whether or not there is more money in Openreach or not and that's exactly why I think they should be separate", the Guardian reports.
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