back to article Openreach boss Clive Selley wants Ofcom to wrap it up already

The Sword of Damocles has not entirely disappeared from above Openreach. Earlier this year, the UK communications watchdog Ofcom stopped short of recommending a full decapitation of the British broadband provider from its parent BT. Crucially, though, it has kept the option on the table. In the next few weeks the regulator is …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Balance ?

    Can we now have article about how Virgin is expanding its network?

    It would be nice to know their plans as well or are they waiting for Ofcom to shackle BT to stop it competing with them over TV services?

    {not a customer of either directly}

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge

    So what are you doing in the office today?

    Feet up - got a Sword of Damocles to use as an excuse! You?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sure we would all like stability and certainty. But Ofcom needs to keep its options open in order to have credible leverage. Live with it.

    The rest of us have Brexit to worry about.

  4. Mystic Megabyte

    I live in hope

    Meanwhile at my house, the video that I was just watching on the BBC news site stopped playing with a "Not enough bandwidth" message.

  5. FlossyThePig

    Look what is happening in NZ

    See what ex-BT CTO Peter Cochrane has to say.

  6. just another employee


    so what.

    If BT are refusing to do anything (they are) about Direct Exchange Lines (that apparently cannot be upgrade/moved/replaced/updated/FTTP/FTTC'd etc) then 2.8Mbs is all I will ever get.

    Don't care about FTTP - just bandwidth.

    FYI: I do not get a reduction in cost either. 2.8Mbs or 28Mbs = same price.

    Maybe OFCOM should introduce a per/Mbs charging scheme ?

  7. Adam Jarvis

    Given Theresa May (that's Theresa with a 'Heil Hilter' H) is now in power. Separation of BTOpenreach all comes down to whether the Investigatory Powers Bill is better implemented by having a single Telecom Company (BT) in charge of UK's backhaul infrastructure, including most of the local loop, or splitting off BTOpenreach, will hinder this.

    Its never been about competition, because there isn't any. Its a faux situation, at best. (que the replies, well anyone can set up their own Telecoms company. Someone has to pay for it - Ultrafast Broadband Rollout). It won't be BT risking its capital, because they don't need to, from where they are currently sitting, now owning EE aswell.

    Investigatory Powers Bill is going to be a licence to print money for BT, because Government just can't keep their noses out of the rich metadata at stake here (and ultimately, control of People's lives), why would BT voluntarily invest their own money? Better to leave Governments to be forced to.

    BT can just cherry-pick rollout, as little, as much as they like, 'upto' Mbps - BT have fitted a 'precision control' to the UK's broadband pipe by opting to re-use Legacy Copper/G.Fast technologies, to effectively obfuscate, make Superfast/Ultrafast Broadband appear like a limited resource, permiting obfuscated price gouging, under regulator supervision.

    As ever, BT just hold the UK to ransom by sitting on their hands, until someone stumps up the money (Taxpayers in the form of BDUK etc) to upgrade the infrastructure and every solution for that upgrade put forward by BT (and pals at Ofcom who previously worked at BT) is biased towards BT's own Legacy copper or the constrained limits of such an Legacy copper based upgrade. i.e. 'upto' 100Mbps future targets for Ultrafast, often been mentioned, even by Government Ministers. BT have Government Ministers trained. Averages are always mentioned, which always skew the figures, ignoring rural rollouts/notspots.

    As far as Ofcom's role - its never seems to about changing this, getting rid of the large legacy operator sitting on their hands, because so many at Ofcom have ex-BT vested interests. Going forward - that needs to be centre stage.

    If BDUK investment hadn't have happened BT would be now sitting on a network with what amounts to (more and more towards) zero voice call revenue from its subscribers (assuming mobile networks took up the slack of poor fixed line broadband). BT can't have it both ways.

    Things don't look good though. You only have to look at Amber Rudd in her role as Energy Secretary, the pathetic enforcement by Ofgem over her tenure. Ofgem is even worse than Ofcom, as a regulator.

    Energy Utility companies with a blantant monopoly situation, customer service levels of dire proportions, excessive call times, inaccurate billing examples - yet no real action taken. Nearly every single major supplier under investigation with little in the way of real fines. No change at all.

    The idea Amber Rudd is going to sort this out (the implementation of the intricate complex Investigatory Powers Bill) and have a definitive answer regards BTOpenreach has zero chance ever happening. I believe Theresa May has deliberately chosen a weak useless candidate, so she remains in control of the Home Office, regards the Investigatory Powers Bill.

    Hence, even though BTOpenreach should be split off, it won't be.

    Amber Rudd is a mouthpiece of utter conjecture most of the time. She's not about to change her spots.

  8. Peter X

    25,00 new homes every week?

    Are there really that many new homes every single week? (honestly, I have no idea... but that sounds considerably higher than I might've guessed)

  9. Martin Summers Silver badge

    "But they have lower average speeds,” says Selley. “So in what sense are we lagging behind?"

    Erm because fibre at least has the potential to deliver more when they sort out their backhaul and they will be way ahead of us, still trying to get the last dying breath out of copper. What an utterly ludicrous comment to make.

  10. J. R. Hartley

    "Lagging behind"

    Poor choice of phrase.

  11. Bill Buchan

    FTTC doesn't work in rural shire..

    OpenReach just has one solution - the fibre cabinet - and that was designed for urban areas. OpenReach can't even get that right (Exchange only lines, for instance).

    Ruralshire suffers a lot more - more than 1.5 miles from the cabinet, and its game over. G-Fast will be even worse. Clearly something different needs to be done in ruralshire and OpenReach just aren't doing it.

    What they are doing is dumping fibre cabinets as quickly as they can to scoop up all that lovely taxpayers money we're giving them. The planning for the locations is appalling -the fibre cabinet for Luthermuir, for instance, was dumped 2.2 miles from the village. Only 8 houses get any sort of performance from that fibre cabinet. The 80+ houses in the village - nada. And will never get any better.

    Look on the bright side - you can always ask for 'Fibre on Demand' - so you'll pay a shedload of dosh for your own fibre line. Oh - but not in Scotland, where only 30 exchanges are enabled for it. Making the only non-horrendously expensive solution FTTC. So much for the 'On Demand' bit. Gee. Thanks.

    Hence the reason we ended up setting up our own WISP.

    ---* Bill

  12. inmypjs Silver badge

    Complete pack of shits

    Abusing their monopoly to provide expensive and unbelievably shit service to the fullest extent Ofcom will allow.

    They installed inadequately tested crap firmware in ECI FTTC cabinets for more that 1/4 million customers earlier this year which caused so many problems they had to un-install it all again. I was surprised it didn't make an article here.

    1. Adam Jarvis

      Re: Complete pack of shits

      Firmware issues will be much more prevalent with

  13. BongoJoe


    Which diseased language is this abomination?

  14. PhilipVirgo

    Why Ofcom should confirm Openreach's "suspended sentance", not let it off the hook

    The signs are that now it has an engineer in charge Openreach is moving towards a hybrid solution. G-Fast where it will work well (probably well over half the network) give a boost and a mix of fibre and wireless where it will not: distance, aluminum networks, exchange only lines etc. etc.). Given the post-brexit funding problems BT will face (rights issues to pay for buying EE and DT reluctance to invest more) we may even see it become an anchor tenant for those altnets which use new technology to build more robust networks at lower cost. Will separating Openreach from BT help expedite that process? .... hmmm. One of the "lessons" of history is that monopolies frightened of regulatory action give better service to their customers. The only certainty Ofcom should give to Openreach is that it will not intervene provided its services improve (price and performance) into line with those of its competitors and it does not assist predatory behaviour on behalf of its parent.

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