ITSPA, the trade body for the next generation communications industry has expressed its disappointment with Ofcom’s acceptance of BT’s commitments to reform Openreach.
The Chair of ITSPA, Eli Katz, stated that “Whilst ITSPA supported Ofcom’s original decision to pursue legal separation, as opposed to full structural separation, today’s news has caused major concern to our members. Ofcom appear to have swept under the carpet industry’s serious concerns about the lack of public scrutiny into BT’s voluntary commitments. This now appears simply to be a ‘tick box’ exercise on Ofcom’s to-do list, without discussing the genuine threat this poses to businesses and consumers in the UK.”
ITSPA had previously expressed its concerns over BT’s commitments directly to Ofcom and had specifically highlighted the fact that the proposals would enable BT to terminate its commitments at 12 months’ notice.
Katz continued “Ofcom is willingly giving up its powers to hold BT to account on behalf of consumers in the UK in return for a set of promises from BT that are not fit for the purpose Ofcom itself specified. BT can unilaterally withdraw from it all on just 12 months’ notice. Today’s news may jeopardise the efficacy of the legal separation of Openreach from BT, with a knock-on effect of threatening Ofcom’s desire to see a competitive and flourishing market”.