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4 key reasons why Openreach split from BT is good for British businesses.

Nov 29, 2016 5:15:01 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, broadband, BT, Openreach, Telecoms

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Ofcom has today ordered BT to legally separate itself from its Openreach division, which is the company in charge of the UK’s broadband and telephony infrastructure, and whose performance effectively governs the speed and reliability of most of the UK’s broadband connections. Here are our 4 key reasons why we think this is good for British businesses, and small businesses in particular.

1.Faster broadband.

The Government has rightly identified our broadband infrastructure as an essential part of the UK economy, both now and in the future, which is why it pledged £1bn towards faster broadband in the Autumn statement.

This is also a key driver of Ofcoms actions – it clearly sees Openreach’s current structure as a barrier to the roll out of faster wired connections across the UK. BTs rivals agree; Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk have continually criticised Openreach’s levels of investment in the infrastructure on which they all depend, even going as far as launching a campaign to pressurise Openreach into more upgrades.

We’ve also seen evidence of this in South Yorkshire, where the Sheffield City Region has essentially had to pay BT itself to fibre-enable a whole host of green cabinets throughout the region.

2. Clearer Mission Focus.

The innuendo has always been that whilever BT Group retains control over Openreach’s finance and assets it can still effectively ‘manage’ Openreach by proxy, whilst also falsely inflating its own market position to investors.

Whether this is true or not, a more separate company with a more direct relationship with both the regulator and, by extension, customers, must surely give a greater clarity of focus to Openreach as an organisation. By association you would assume there would have to be some changes within the management of Openreach and its services too, so let’s hope fresh blood will equate to fresh ideas!

If it’s to drag our ancient telecoms infrastructure into the future, it will certainly need it!

3. More bang for the buck.

Some of BT’s competitors have said in the past they would be willing to invest even more in Openreach to improve infrastructure once they are assured of its independence. This is because Internet Service Providers know there is a gap in UK broadband market that is currently vastly under-served – namely businesses and individuals who need faster speeds than the UK’s average of 22.8Mbps but can’t afford the £300-£1000 per month a private fibre line costs.

The Government, too, will be looking for greater accountability and detail from the new arrangement than it currently gets via BT – if you invest £1bn in anything you need to know what you’re getting for your money!
Hopefully this will mean more of the money that goes into Openreach comes out the other end as fast broadband!

4. Less market confusion.

Believe it or not, despite it being 32 years since the deregulation of UK telecommunications industry began, we still come across people who think you need to go to BT for any changes to your telecoms provision.

What maintains such misconceptions is that the BT logo has been present on the streets of Britain for many years, attached to the Openreach logo. This is the element which perhaps skews the market the most when it comes to Openreach’s relationship with BT.

Whilst it’s true that the BT part of the logo has got smaller and smaller over the years, Openreach’s 2,500 engineers are still effectively moving advertising hoardings for a brand that is not meant to benefit from its association with Openreach.

Clarifying this relationship, maybe even via a rebrand, should help educate consumer and create more competition in the marketplace, ultimately bringing down prices (well, that’s the hope)!


What do you think?

I've posted this same article on LinkedIn so you can let me know your thoughts. Will it affect your business?

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When will my fibre Leased Line be connected?

Jul 27, 2015 3:38:05 PM / by One2Call posted in Blog, broadband, BT, business, ethernet, Openreach, fibre, leased line

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Some can take weeks, some can take months - why is it so difficult to give a connection date for fibre leased lines?

We've been connecting quite a few fibre leased lines recently thanks to the government grants currently available, and the two things we get asked the most are:

  • How much will it cost altogether?
  • When will it be connected by?

Unfortunately we can never give concrete answers to either of these questions due to the extensive survey and installation process associated with what is, in essence, your own private optical fibre connection dug through the ground directly to your building.

Anything can come up in the surveying process, from collapsed ducts blocking the cable to a landlord unwilling to grant site access. The huge list of potential issues is exactly why the survey process can take so long, and why we can't guarantee there won't be additional charges over and above the quoted amount.

To go through the whole process here you'd be reading all day, but thankfully BT Openreach (not always our favourite people) have produced this video which explains well all the stages of the Leased Line (or Ethernet as they call it) survey and installation process:

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Struggling to get BT repair in South Yorkshire? MBORC is to blame...

Aug 5, 2014 4:35:13 PM / by One2Call posted in Barnsley, broadband, BT, doncaster, News, Openreach, Rotherham, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, MBORC

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UPDATE 07/08/2014 16:15: MBORC to be lifted in remaining areas, including South Yorkshire, with effect from 8th August.

BT Openreach currently still have an MBORC in place for South Yorkshire since the severe storm conditions between 17th and 20th July. If you've been waiting a long time for a normal BT Openreach repair in this region this may be why.

A what now?

MBORC = Matter Beyond Our Reasonable Control, or in other words, an Act of God.

It's a clause in BT Openreach's terms and conditions which allows them to divert resources to tackle problems caused by things beyond their control, like natural disasters.

This may be why you've been struggling to escalate any other fixes not related to this activity if your area is under MBORC conditions.

When will this be fixed?

BT Openreach have been gradually lifting MBORC conditions from areas as they fix them, but as of writing (3pm, 5 Aug 2014) MBORC is still in operation for repair activities in South Yorkshire, as well as Southend, Broadlands and Swindon.

Here's what they say:

"We are continuing to direct available additional resource into the remaining areas to bring the position back to normal as quickly as possible. We are monitoring the situation and will remove MBORC from these areas as soon as service can be restored to the levels they were at immediately before the severe weather."

So what can I do?

Keep in contact with your service provider who should be able to see if the MBORC is still in place in your area.

Or, keep an eye on our Twitter feed or search Twitter for MBORC - it's a pretty unusual acronym so a hashtag is probably not necessary!

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