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BT Openreach boss: Legal separation will "rebuild trust and credibility"

01 February 2017
BT Openreach boss: Legal separation will

The Ofcom led market review into whether or not Openreach can remain within the BT Group PLC but operate more independently or full separation is the not the only topic with strong views it is very reminiscent of a vote the United Kingdom public made in June 2016 which had a close 52/48 split over the United Kingdom leaving the EU.

Shares in under-pressure telecoms giant BT Group (LON:BT.A) rallied today helped by news of new board appointments to its regulatory-challenged broadband infrastructure business, Openreach.

The industry and the regulator want evidence that Openreach is sufficiently separate from BT to be independent.

According to Chairman Mike McTighe, customers "sometimes feel let down" by Openreach, as it has not always delivered the service they expect or that it hopes to provide.

Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, is a member of the board, reporting to McTighe as chairman but also to BT's CEO, Gavin Patterson, "on issues relating to BT's responsibilities as a publicly listed company".

Openreach will also establish committees, including a new Openreach Board Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee (OBARCC). This will be the Board's focus and we are now in consultation with BT Group about agreeing the plan to deliver better service, broader coverage and faster speeds for consumers and businesses across the country.

He said: "This will be the Board's focus and we are now in consultation with BT Group about agreeing the plan to deliver better service, broader coverage and faster speeds for consumers and businesses across the country".

At the end of November, regulator Ofcom ordered BT to make Openreach a separate company, although it stopped short of forcing the firm to diverge ownership of the subsidiary completely as most of its rivals had wanted. "This will be the Board's focus and we are now in consultation with BT group about agreeing the plan to deliver better service, broader coverage and faster speeds for consumers and businesses across the country". A fourth independent non-executive is due to be announced imminently with a specific focus on customer service. It will run in parallel to BT's existing Equality of Access Board, of which Astle is also a member.