News & Insight

Are BT and Openreach finally about to part ways?

Max White

Is the latest attack by ISPs Sky and TalkTalk the straw to break the camel's back?

Sky and TalkTalk forced the crowbar between BT and Openreach again this week in a fresh attempt to establish Openreach as an independent infrastructure.

It's the latest attack in a long fought battle to pry BT out of the monopoly broadband infrastructure. Calls to split BT from BT Openreach have been spearheaded by Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone collectively as Fix Britain’s Internet, who are campaigning against continued failings to improve broadband accessibility in the UK.

The added pressure comes after an Ofcom consultation on the future of Openreach this week, with the CEOs of Sky and TalkTalk quoting global league tables in a new bid to separate BT from its network subsidiary.

Digital divide

Sky’s Chief Operating Officer and CFO Andrew Griffiths wrote in the Telegraph that Britain is now 20th in the league table of average broadband speeds, putting countries like the Czech Republic and Romania above us.

What does this mean in light of an imminent Brexit? If the UK is going to trade prosperously outside of the EU, it would go a long way to have an up-to-date broadband infrastructure that potential investors can have confidence in. Is it possible that it's already too late to turn things around?

Holding back small businesses

Whilst BT and Openreach stall improvements to the network, it’s the small businesses in remote areas of the UK that are bearing the brunt. Without a reasonable internet connection, everyone from the local butcher to the high street baker is being denied the opportunity to do business better.

At XLN we're championing small businesses, and it's our mission to help them grow.

Service suffers the most

In the long running BT Openreach saga the service small businesses have been receiving has been well below par. Leading consumer-based review site TrustPilot says BT’s average service rating is 0.4 out of 10. And whilst BT controls the network through Openreach, there’s very little other providers can do for consumers.

Fingers crossed that with the pressure mounting again this week we’re getting closer to better broadband for everyone.