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Monitoring of compliance with the new governance arrangements relating to Openreach

26 February 2019

Open

Programme into British Telecommunications Plc (“BT”) and Openreach Limited (“Openreach”)
Case opened 13 July 2017
Summary

On 10 March 2017, BT notified Ofcom of voluntary commitments to further reform Openreach. This means that Openreach will be a distinct company with its own staff, management, purpose and strategy. The commitments are designed to address the competition concerns identified by Ofcom in its Strategic Review of Digital Communications.

The focus of this programme is to monitor the Implementation of the new model, BT and Openreach’s compliance with the governance arrangements and whether Openreach acts independently and treats its customers equally. Additionally we will assess whether the arrangements deliver positive outcomes for consumers and businesses.

Relevant legal provision(s)

Section 89C of the Communications Act 2003

This summer, the Openreach Monitoring Unit (OMU) will publish its second annual monitoring report on how the arrangements to establish Openreach as a legally separate part of the BT Group are working. The monitoring report will look at how the two organisations are operating under the Commitments and associated Governance Protocols.

In preparation for this report, we are inviting people and businesses to share their views on interactions they have had with BT and Openreach since 1 April 2019, in the context of the Commitments. This includes interactions with Openreach Northern Ireland.

Our report will focus on the extent of Openreach’s independence from BT Group, its engagement with its customers and how it supports rollout of faster fibre networks. While we particularly welcome views on these areas, we also invite people to provide any other relevant information or comments they think will be useful for our annual monitoring report.

If you would like to provide the OMU with a written submission, please send this to omu@ofcom.org.uk by Wednesday 18 March.

If you would prefer a meeting or phone call to discuss your views, please contact us via the same OMU mailbox by 5:00pm on Wednesday 4 March and we will get in touch to arrange this.

Where appropriate, the OMU may use the information provided as part of our published report. If you consider any information you provide to be confidential, please clearly mark this as part of the submission.

Areas of Focus

We would particularly welcome stakeholder’s views on the following areas. Please provide specific examples in support of your comments where possible:

Openreach’s independence, including:

  • Whether Openreach is acting sufficiently independently of BT, for example in setting its strategic and financial priorities; and
  • The extent to which Openreach takes account of its customer's ambitions when developing its plans.

Openreach’s engagement with its customers, including:

  • Openreach’s approach to engaging with its customers, for example through the Statement of Requirement or Customer Consultation processes;
  • Whether Openreach is fulfilling its commitment to treat customers equally;
  • Openreach’s approach to handling confidential or commercially sensitive information; and
  • Openreach’s responsiveness to queries, complaints or concerns you may have raised.

Openreach’s support of rolling out faster fibre networks, including:

  • Openreach’s approach to the development of its fibre footprint;
  • Openreach’s transparency about its fibre build plans;
  • The extent to which Openreach is enabling the deployment of fibre networks by other providers;
  • Openreach’s implementation of its Physical Infrastructure Access (PIA) product since 1 April 2019 and/or your experiences of interacting with Openreach to access ducts and poles; and
  • Whether Openreach responds positively to opportunities for collaboration and co-investment.

This is not an exhaustive list and we welcome further information relating to engagement with Openreach and BT in the context of the Commitments and associated Governance Protocols.

The information provided will be used to inform the OMU’s broader monitoring aims rather than resolve individual issues.


Case leader

OMU@ofcom.org.uk

Case reference CW/01206/09/17