Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey Opposes BT and Openreach Split

Thursday, October 1st, 2015 (8:19 am) - Score 1,185
BT Centre in Newgate Street, London

The UK Government’s Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, has said that he is a “sceptic” of proposal that BT could be split from control of their national broadband and phone network (Openreach) and warned that it has “lots of potential to backfire.” Penny for your thoughts Ofcom.

At present the national telecoms regulator, Ofcom, are undertaking a major Strategic Review of Digital Communications and one of the options on the table involves the controversial idea of separating Openreach from BT. It’s important to stress that this is not the same as renationalising Openreach and the wider industry might also take on some of the responsibility.

The regulator has suggested that this option could “remove BT’s underlying incentive to discriminate against competitors” and might even offer ways to “simplify existing regulation“, although they admit that the “process would be challenging” (e.g. legal challenges, difficulties over apportioning BT’s debt pile and pensions, rising consumer prices etc.) and might not fix all of the issues with service quality (install delays, fault fixing etc.). Most of BT’s biggest rivals, such as TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and Vodafone, all support a split (here).

The UK Labour Party has also hinted that it too would favour such an approach (here) and Chris Bryant MP recently said, “The situation is now so bad that Ofcom’s review should work on the presumption that Openreach should be split from the rest of BT unless their review produces conclusive evidence to the contrary. At the very least Openreach should be held accountable for its poor quality of service.” Labour also wants Ofcom to have more teeth for intervening in the market.

On the flip side BT admits that it still has work to do on the customer service front, although they claim to have met the vast majority of Ofcom’s regulatory requirements and warn that separating them from Openreach would result in “huge uncertainty” and “fundamentally undermine the case for future investment.

As such it was perhaps only a matter of time before the Government waded into the argument and Ed Vaizey MP has now warned that a split could be risky, before adding that existing “regulations have proved very effective“. But at the same time Vaizey also hinted that the Government would still “go with the trend” of Ofcom’s review.

Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, said (FT Paywall):

I think full separation would be an enormous undertaking, incredibly time consuming [and have] lots of potential to backfire. Ofcom is looking at it, I am a sceptic but we will have to see what Ofcom comes out with … If broadband is so terrible, why are we the leading ecommerce nation in the world?.”

On the remark about being the “leading ecommerce” nation, consumers don’t strictly need superfast connections to shop online and we did benefit on this front from having an early start with recognising the importance of Internet connectivity, but equally we won’t necessarily retain this position if our foot is taken too far off the gas.

Vaizey also said that “most people” regarded 24Mbps (this is what the Government officially deems to be the starting point for their ‘superfast’ definition) “as the kind of broadband speeds they need … in reality, most people can live with 6-8 mbps“, which some may perceive as being a bit short-sighted.

Of course you can survive with a basic connection that might only deliver 6-8Mbps, assuming you live alone and don’t have any big data demands. But faster connections allow you to get more things done faster and that helps productivity, especially for businesses and those with data hungry families. Furthermore it also opens a door to future innovation and richer content or services (4K etc.).

Strictly speaking there’s nothing surprising in what Ed Vaizey has to say because the Government has a huge public investment in BT through its national Broadband Delivery UK programme, which is predominantly working with the operator to deploy “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017/18.

Furthermore the Government also want to foster “ultrafast” (100Mbps+) speeds going forward, not to mention those plans for a possible 5Mbps Universal Service Obligation (here). Suffice to say that anything which might delay or complicate that, such as a BT split, would be politically problematic. Ed Vaizey’s intervention on this issue is also likely to carry some weight within Ofcom.

In the meantime BT’s rivals at least appear to be serious about delivering an alternative, but we should all be cautious until they spell out precisely what they’d do and how much investment they’d make. Only then will it be possible to judge whether Openreach is truly going to be better off as a separate company, otherwise this is all just businesses fighting each other and in that battle we, the consumers, are little more than numbers to be bargained over. Ofcom’s first proposals should surface by around the end of 2015.

Add to Diigo
Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
39 Responses
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    “The Government has a huge public investment in BT through its national Broadband Delivery UK programme”

    In reality this is virtually all with Openreach, albeit I’ve no doubt that there are some much higher up meetings at the BT board level. I don’t think BDUK as such is an important issue in this respect.

    What the government will be concerned about is possibly being landed with some big bills in the future with the pension deficit liability being chief among them. The there is the issue of the period of uncertainty that would follow should Ofcom refer this issue to the Competition and Markets Authority as they would be required to do should they recommend a demerger of OpenReach. Ofcom do not have the statutory powers to do this themselves and this would not be a quick or certain process and is always liable to judicial review. Most likely it would require direct government intervention to broker a deal, or even primary legislation.

  2. Avatar TheManStan

    Yes, BTOR can be poo at lots of things, but I’d rather see the opposition be serious and deliver an alternative… because that would be competition, break the “monopoly” and deliver the market which has been missing. “The market hasn’t delivered”, many say, well that’s because there has been no market, just a reliance on an incumbent telco… the benefit would be resilience for the national economy… reliance on a single wholesale infrastructure supplier results in one down all down.

    TalkTalk’s nonsense about BTOR should investing in delivering FTTP faster, but in the same instance demanding fibre prices be rock bottom should be an indicator of what they are really after.

    No other European government would consider breaking up their incumbent telco…

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      There is meaningful competition in about 50-60% of the market in the shape of VM. For much of the rest of the country simple economics dictates that the market probably won’t support two network infrastructure suppliers on grounds of cost and limited revenue opportunity.

      What Ofcom could consider (but probably won’t) is to treat the country as two markets as far as broadband infrastructure is concerned, in much the same way that they have done for exchanges. I would allow wholesale prices for NGA BB products to be different in the two areas. It might even be possible to avoid price controls in those areas where there is infrastructure competition and rely on competition to keep prices down, although that might have to wait. There would still be a requirement to offer wholesale services on a non-discriminatory basis (as currently for BT). Wholesale services on the VM network can be left open for the moment.

      Then there are then the “infrastructure monopoly areas”. These would clearly require closer regulation. Prices for OR BB products would have to be regulated, at least in part. Of course there will be an immediate outcry as, on the face of it, we might expect rural wholesale costs to go up (and urban may go down). However, there are a couple of things that mitigate against that. Firstly all commercial and BDUK GEA/FTTC products are either economic on their own merits, or are gap funded to be so. Secondly, it is up to the government to consider if there should be a degree of subsidy to the monopoly areas, which could be done explicitly via a levy placed on infrastructure BB providers in the competition areas or even via public money. Finally, even if it were to be the case that cost-based wholesale pricing did mean that prices were higher in the “monopoly area”, it might encourage competition. (As with the exchange classification, a “grace period” could be granted before the classification was changed).

      Note, for the moment at least, I would not propose that the WLR and MPF services are split between these two markets.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      Oh, I agree entirely and have mooted what you propose.

      I would suggest that the pricing regulation for the monopoly areas be such that they actively encourage investment in bringing NGA, with some form of annual indexation to eventually make older services unprofitable and NGA services quite profitable for a period for ROI then dropping back to a sensible level.

  3. Avatar AndrewH

    That’s my fear. A split now would cause all manor of problems and only delay rollout further.
    Better to give the devil you know a kick up the backside (which has kind of already happened) and hope things get moving.
    The 5-10Mbps commitment will have a big effect on speeding things up.
    I have 1.7 but need 100 (IT engineer) but that’s beside the point!
    🙂

    • Avatar Matthew Williams

      Devon stop thinking of just your connection BDUK Part 3 might still benefit you lol but I see your point. CMA should make the 5-10 Mbps Commitment legally binding as part of the EE buyout. That is certainly a fair point about delaying rollout.

      This strategic review whatever it proposes at end is going certainly change the market. Just like how the HS2 route confirmation this month is going annoy people in Staffordshire.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      What on earth has CMA and the EE enquiry to do with a USO for BB? CMA’s job is solely to investigate the competition aspects of the bid and not impose some arbitrary condition on an unrelated product. CMA can set conditions with regard to things like wholesale access and the like for EE products and how BT’s fixed line infrastructure might be used for it and competitors, but I can’t see where a BB USO comes in.

      Of course there might be some sweet talking between Ofcom, the government and BT, but it’s not CMAs job to define service standards for fixed line BB.

    • Avatar Matt

      We all know BT is likely going be made to give up there 2x15MHz of 2600MHz I don’t see why another part of the regulation for that deal can’t be to make sure this 5-10Mbps can’t be made compulsory as in fairness EE does sell fixed line as well.

      This review on the buyout is going be happening around same time as Ofcom finish there review so maybe not CMA impose that obligation but between them and Ofcom it might be a good idea is all I am saying. Sure it is legal somehow to impose something like that.

      A USO has been tossed around in the past and now BT are saying they will be able deliver 5-10Mbps for the last 5% so clearly it seems the time to make a 5Mbps USO.

  4. Avatar gerarda

    Although I have found it hard to split BT and Ed Vaizey over the past few years he has a point here.

  5. Avatar mrpops2ko

    I could see how this would improve things. Story time here, involving a major BT retail cockup and how them being split could potentially improve this.

    So I’m on FTTC 80/20 VDSL broadband and have been for 8 months. Randomly (without my consent) someone changed me over to ADSL when I was considering leaving 1 month ago and now it has only just occurred. Cue 5 hours on the phone explaining explaining to BT retail that their backend put me on ADSL and frontend says VDSL and none of them understanding. Get told engineer will be sent out.

    Engineer from BTOR arrives and it is an ADSL engineer. I told him I had VDSL but was incorrectly put on ADSL. He says its not his problem and nothing he can do. [Here is the point where that would not happen in any regular sane company. The BTOR monopoly of things right here prevents the usual economical free market approach of doing work]. Since I know it is literally a case of going to the DSLAM and plugging me back in, nothing else needs doing, he says he can’t do that still, need a VDSL engineer.

    Go back to BT retail, tell them again about all this, finally get through to a managers manager who takes responsibility for this case and gets BTOR to fix it. Great I think, only to then be told I will now have to wait 2 weeks for the engineer to come out. Why the 2 week wait? I don’t know. Personally from what i’ve read, its because BTOR don’t do ‘single’ jobs but wait until they have a few reasons to go to the DSLAM rather than fixing a single customer.

    So all in all, i’m on ADSL for 2.5 weeks because of a cockup. A simple fix for this would take 30 seconds. Literally plugging me back in at the DSLAM.

    All in all, definitely in favour of a split.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      And that would help? All of the interfaces would be exactly as they are now as OR and BTR systems are separate and the same as all the other SPs use.

    • Avatar mrpops2ko

      Yeah that would help. Then BTOR would have to stand up as company on its own. Failing to fix things and passing the buck and not taking responsibility would result in a financial hit. Turn around times for operations would actually matter.

      All of that doesn’t happen currently. As I described with the willingness of the BTOR engineer I received, wanting to say ‘nothing i can do mate’. Any other network engineer would have rang up, made enquiries about the work needing to be done and how it could have been resolved that day. I literally told him what needed to be done.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      Exactly how would that help? Seems to me many people are making many assumptions that things would be better.

    • Avatar mrpops2ko

      I agree a lot of what i’ve said is an assumption – many people make them but I don’t think they are baseless. Most of it is basic business. If you believe it could be a bad outcome then please state how.

      I’m trying to imagine a scenario where this isn’t a good thing, or it makes it worse somehow (for the consumer / end user). I can’t imagine a scenario where BTOR become less efficient as a result of the split. Lets say it did happen though, somehow BTOR after the split just stopped going out and doing any engineering / maintenance of cables. Since it is still part of the BT group, if that ever did happen there’d be massive pressure from the board of directors / shareholders / BT wholesale / a variety of other FINANCIALLY DEPENDANT sources to improve / go back to the original status quo of performance (which I think largely negates the possibility for a reduction in performance).

      How long would the BT group continue funding an inadequate BTOR? If it is bleeding money for them? Another company then rises to take the place of BTOR or more contractors come in (we have seen this partially happen within BTOR and their usage of contractors). Even if we do a doomsday scenario of BT as a whole going bust, another would rise in its place, something better – in no scenario can I see this as a bad thing.

      In the current status quo, an underperforming BTOR has no repercussions and no incentive to get work done in a proper and orderly manner (see my example above regarding current issue) throw them into a market where they compete and you suddenly see turnaround times increase.

    • Avatar Hedges

      Been there, experienced that (or rather very similar). Buck passing by engineers and BT as a whole with us as the customer unable to contact who needs to be contacted.

      I have heard all the excuses from them, including one saying his allocated time to solve the problem was up and i would have to contact BT again to arrange another engineer visit. Erm if you can not solve it in your permitted time frame why will another be able to??

      Another engineer claimed he was just going off to the exchange which is just up the road from me and would be back in a few minutes. Never came back and left his yellow box whatever that was plugged into my phone socket and the faceplate hanging off the wall. Following day at about 8am there is a paniced knock on my front door, same engineer had came back to pick up his gear but not try to carry on fixing the issue with the excuse of ‘Sorry i do not have an appointment booked for you today’.

      Then there was the time some actual work (it didn’t help but at least they tried to do something) got done and the cable from pole to house was replaced. Great you may think, except for the 10cm square bit of masonry which got destroyed in the process of him trying to drill a hole into the house, no apology, and no rectification from BT after near 2 years. I decided to get up the ladder myself this summer and fix it myself. Better things to be doing on my day off and safer things than climbing ladders 20ft in the air when im near retirement age.

      Sure splitting Openreach from the rest of BT may not make things better, but the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over. Time to change that i think.

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Hedges

      These guys are all on a treadmill with set appointments. If he doesn’t leave by a certain time then there will be a chain of people left hanging about. I assume the engineer will have had to raise another appointment, possibly one with a bit more time to fix the issue.

      Ofcom’s pressure to keep wholesale prices down will stretch resources. In real terms the wholesale price for line rental has been dropping for years. That sort of thing shows in time and a split will do nothing for it (especially if it puts OR costs up, which is very possible).

    • Avatar mrpops2ko

      @Steve Jones

      Could you elaborate on what BTOR costs you think will go up as a result of them being separate? maintenance / cabling pricing doesn’t just magically go up.

      When you treat them all like separate companies then free market economics happens. Sure BTOR prices might have been artificially low as a result of BT wholesale subsidy, we don’t know and cant know. If as a separate company, they choose to up the prices to make everything in-line with real world pricing then that is fine. BT wholesale will then notice a massive cost to their operations. BT wholesale will look for alternatives such as awarding contracting to alternative companies (potentially even regional). BT wholesale could even look into entirely outsourcing all maintenance to someone outside of BT if pricing is much better.

      I’m a socialist in general but I can’t help but shake some of these basic things that would be solved by free market economics. BTOR don’t run on the real world model of innovation. Free market economics puts focus on that innovation.

      Take my specific problem as an example, what is the reason for waiting an arbitrary 2 weeks to go out to the DSLAM? (cost cutting / bundling to make it more price efficient for them) What costs are incurred from sending someone? (petrol and wages for the guy going).

      Want an innovative free market approach to this kind of problem? Have some 3rd party contractors available in local areas, make it more grass roots so distance isn’t an issue. Have them properly vetted with insurance and that they know what they are doing (which isn’t hard in my case, everything is already done except for someone has unplugged me at the DSLAM). This 30 seconds job, real world turnaround time becomes 4-5 hours – not 2 weeks.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      A separate BTOR would be subject to historical issues relating to being a government owned entity with a large workforce… i.e. the pension pot.

      In a separated company Openreach would take the majority of the pension liabilities due to the historical make up of publically owned BT, deficit is currently ~7BN which the company would need to make good on the portion assigned, which realistcally could be 80%… on it’s own. So with the current ~£325M annual payments, taken proportionally with additional top ups that might be required your looking at a total £700M per annum.

      With ORs free cash flow being ~£1BN… not much space for additional investment…

    • Avatar FibreFred

      mrpops, I’m not sure I understand your scenario, so… Openreach is currently part of BT Group and set-up (with Chinese walls) so its logically separate from the rest of the business and gives a far deal to all providers on the same footing (rest of BT included).

      Your split sees it being split off and .. still part of BT Group so… what improvements does that give you?

      Surely whatever you believe is wrong now will still be wrong post split as its part of BT Group still?

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      Besides the historical pension deficit issues (which are probably the most significant factor), a separated OR would not have the bargaining power with suppliers that the BT group as a whole would do. This is for a whole host of things like office software, facilities management contracts, HR contracts and so on. IT would be hugely affected. Things like IT infrastructure architecture, data centres, IT operations and so on. Then there are all the IT services that BT contract offshore.

      There will also be a large, albeit one-off costs in separating all those shared overhead functions. There are shared building issues to be sorted out, a separate headquarters to be set up.

      The devil will be in the detail, of which there will be a huge amount. A great deal of management time will have to be spent on this. I seem to recall that, following the last Ofcom settlement, BT had to invest a lot of money in setting up OR, BTW and BTR and developing systems and interfaces for the equivlance process. I’m struggling to find the reference, but I seem to recall it was non-trivial amounts of money – very probably more than £1bn.

      So any separation will not be cost free.

    • Avatar GNewton

      @Steve Jones: With all due respect, your last comment really begins to sound like lame excuses for not making BT OpenReach an independent company, almost a reflection of the “Can’t Do” culture so prevalent in this country.

      BT has some serious issues which need resolving. And I don’t feel sorry for those who bought BT shares, they should have known the risks before investing in this company.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      What a childish response, how long has he has his shares? 5 – 10, 20yrs? What risks can you foresee over years.

      Buying shares in any company is a risk. Foolish remark

    • Avatar mrpops2ko

      @FibreFred Yes it’d be exactly like the current BT consumer / retail model is. It does in some respects sound a bit daft and can be counter intuitive but it is probably the best option we have. Some of the potential issues regarding this are outlined here http://www.revk.uk/2012/12/a-new-con-from-bt.html old article but still very relevant.

      What improvement it gives me though, is that BT shareholders and others who are in a position to put FINANCIAL pressure, pressure that makes them accountable – can be done in a separate openreach. BTOR then have to charge real world prices, (which might result in vastly increased costing vs now) but then they have to go through the rigorous cost cutting vs benefit analysis that every business goes through. They have to worry about turn round times, profits, customer retention and all the rest. You know at the end of it, BT group could say openreach just isn’t a viable company. They just outsource it. Then guess what? We have a much more robust and accountable business or groups of businesses that bid against BT contracts with specific performance requirements.

      So many things can happen which will directly benefit ALL customers as well as all ISP providers when you let free market economics take over. The logic / argument for multiple networks isn’t viable and way too costly but it could certainly work for maintenance / cabling.

      @Steve Jones

      wow thank you for your insight. So many things that I did not consider. The pensions pot would have to be remedied by leveraging the onto BT GROUP rather than a single division. That is the only way I could see that working.

      The rest though, are all necessary factors that any business has to consider. It is just the cost of doing business. If they later want to bid or be big against as big contractors then they should have the clout behind them regarding efficiency, turn round times and customer satisfaction.

      For me it is very clear to see that the current model isn’t working but like was mentioned previously, if you do nothing about it – nothing will change. Oh this is the PERFECT time for it. WE NEED MEN OF FIBRE. MORAL AND OPTIC.

    • Avatar themanstan

      That is the whimsical assumption, but one that doesn´t grasp that it is just not legal…
      it would end up costing the tax payer tens millions of pounds in legal fees, would mire in the courts for years and lead to nothing at all happening… i.e. no change in Openreach´s status and no technology rollout at all as the status of the company would be in question.

      Most of BT Group divisions simply didn´t exist when BT was a public entity… so why should be BT Group shoulder “someone else´s” pension.

      It would be like National Grids pension liabilities being transferred to the electricity supply companies… some of these didn´t exist until after privatisation. Where is the link?

    • Avatar chris

      you’d have the same issue regardless of the VDSL ISP and regardless if OR split from BT.
      The issue was that BT handed off to OR, OR checked the connection and sent an appropriate engineer to investigate.
      Before the virtual split of BT engineers to OR the issue would have been solved in 30 seconds by the engineer looking at the job notes and applying common sense, rather than OR’s contractual obligation to just investigate & repair the connection.

  6. Avatar Hedges

    ‘@Hedges

    These guys are all on a treadmill with set appointments. If he doesn’t leave by a certain time then there will be a chain of people left hanging about. I assume the engineer will have had to raise another appointment, possibly one with a bit more time to fix the issue.

    Ofcom’s pressure to keep wholesale prices down will stretch resources. In real terms the wholesale price for line rental has been dropping for years. That sort of thing shows in time and a split will do nothing for it (especially if it puts OR costs up, which is very possible).’

    Firstly when more than one engineer has visited they should know within reason how long is needed to fix any issue.

    Secondly it was me that had to go back to BT to get another appointment the engineer did not even do that.

    Thirdly they have never in my experience given a fixed time they will arrive, all the apointments i have had have either been ‘morning or afternoon’ the closest actual real time frame ive ever had from them was ‘between the hours of 1pm and 4pm’ for one of the appointments. So i dunno how ‘a chain of people’ would be ‘left hanging about’ as nobody AFAIK gets a specific time they will be attending.

    Can i ask do you work for BT because the excuses sound exactly like them. I have never known such terrible service from a utility product. Does a Gas engineer turn up to a leak and once their 30mins (or whatever) is up just say oh well can not fix it im off.

    I also fail to see how OR costs can go up if they are acting as a separate entity to the rest of the BT group currently. Is the rest of the BT Group funding them or are they a separate business?

    Personally i do not think anything will change, Ofcom have never had any guts i doubt they will start now.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      A gas leak and a faulty broadband connection comparison, is that really the same? I think a better comparison would be something like a faulty appliance in the home, computer, tv , oven that sort of thing.

      I don’t think a faulty broadband connection is putting lives at risk 😉

    • Avatar Steve Jones

      @Hedges

      No. I am retired and worked in IT on very large projects including those in the public & private sector, both UK and internaational. I am a BT shareholder and also very familiar with a lot of telecoms issues in both the technical and commercial areas.

      In any event, perhaps you might consider the points made.

    • Avatar Hedges

      ‘A gas leak and a faulty broadband connection comparison, is that really the same? I think a better comparison would be something like a faulty appliance in the home, computer, tv , oven that sort of thing.

      I don’t think a faulty broadband connection is putting lives at risk ‘

      A fair comment regarding ‘lives at risk’ with regards to a gas leak. However my general remark still remains.

      When my house had new windows fitted they did not just do 60 mins then clear off and leave me with no window and a big hole, they worked all day and made sure to only fit what they could before it got dark, then finished the job the next day, i did not have to call them back to come and finish or live with a hole where the windows should be. With BT i have to re-phone an appointment and they left the phone socket dismantled.

      When my washing machine broke down the engineer did not just spend a fixed period of time and then clear off with the machine still in pieces, unlike BT and the phone socket. In fact he had to go get parts, returned to fix the machine and also phone the customer ahead to tell them he may be 30 minutes late.

      When i had a plumber out to fix a problem power shower in the house and he did not have the part needed he still as a temp measure re-hooked up the old water tank in my home see we could still use it until the following day when he returned back on his own accord…. I did not have to re-phone him and make another appointment.

      When i order something online some couriers even send text messages to let you know within 15 minutes when they will be arriving which is far more of a narrowed down time frame than BT provide and those guys can have 100 deliveries a day.

      There is no excuse for poor customer service or shoddy work but that if i personally compare things to other services i experience is exactly my experience of Openreach.

      @steve
      I am not sure what you mean by ‘consider the points made.’ As a shareholder i expect you to defend the organisation and can understand why you would not like to see them split, unfortunately, shoddy service is shoddy service.

    • Avatar TheManStan

      I would expect this to all relate to billing requirements.

      No ISP is going to authorise fix at any cost instructions to Openreach, therefore the engineer will be only able to do what his job ticket was for.

      The complex relationship between Openreach and ISPs such as BT Retail, means equivalency has to be at all levels.

      So the ISP must issue instructions to OR for anything. So you were contacting BT, you were contacting BT Retail… you could have been with another ISP and the system would be the same. You communicate with the ISP who communicates to Openreach…

      The unfortunate fact here is that this is imposed by OFCOM, so that BT Retail does not have a service advantage over other ISPs… Openreach really has it’s hands tied because of equivalency…

      Your problem is BT Retail… but despite all your issues why haven’t you reported to OFCOM or tried small claims? Or even just changed CP?

    • Avatar Hedges

      ‘No ISP is going to authorise fix at any cost instructions to Openreach, therefore the engineer will be only able to do what his job ticket was for.’

      Why does an ISP have to pay Openreach to fix their own network? If my connection does not work properly that should be down to who owns the network. Not who my ISP is. If i drive a ford and the roads are a mess its not Ford (or any other car company) that should be paying to fix the roads, its who owns the road IE the government.

      ‘The complex relationship between Openreach and ISPs such as BT Retail, means equivalency has to be at all levels.’

      The only equivalency i see with Openreach is poor quality work and service. Maybe if they were separated from the rest of the BT group and made to stand on their own 2 feet rather than channel funds from the rest of the group that issue would no longer happen. Eiher way if you change nothing the problems will still be there.

      ‘So the ISP must issue instructions to OR for anything. So you were contacting BT, you were contacting BT Retail… you could have been with another ISP and the system would be the same. You communicate with the ISP who communicates to Openreach…’

      Utter madness. What the ISP tells Openreach the issue is and what the problem actually turns out to be should just be fixed. If i return something to a shop which is faulty and the shop tells the organisation that produced the item what the problem is but it turns out to be something else does the manufacturer of that item just shrug and say nothing we can do for you. Or do they still as long as i did not damage it still repair or replace said item?

      ‘The unfortunate fact here is that this is imposed by OFCOM, so that BT Retail does not have a service advantage over other ISPs… Openreach really has it’s hands tied because of equivalency…’

      In that case altering the way Openreach are placed in the market may solve things.

      ‘Your problem is BT Retail… but despite all your issues why haven’t you reported to OFCOM or tried small claims? Or even just changed CP’

      You have just told me its Ofcoms rules and the ISP at fault so what would be the point reporting it to Ofcom if procedures have been followed correctly? Also if everything has been done to the letter of regulation and how it stands why do you think i would win a small claims case? Either Openreach and the ISP are in the right or they are not.

      Are you another shareholder?

    • Avatar TheManStan

      Err… no…

      Because OR does what the ISP has requested of them… if they screw-up you can only ever go back to ISP. Unless, you contacted OR directly for works between your termination in your house.

      Why not OFCOM or small claims if OR engineer damaged your property and you are unable to resolve via whoever you tried to call?

      Are you another troll? Because I could have sworn I called “BTOR poo at lots of things” earlier in a post on this page, but i’m also realistic about business practises having a job that requires financial responsibility but also one that requires me to solve both technical problems as well as financial issues… establish your rights and follow up… I’ve had settlement from BT for bad service by following advice from CB… once I had settlement i considered the case closed… and the main thing these days is no one writes letters of complaint.

    • Avatar GNewton

      About the BT’s bad services: If BT Group owns the last mile network, via Openreach, then it is up to them to keep it in a functional state, after all, that’s why there is a line rental. Hence it is not right to tell the ISP or end customer that an Openreach engineer cannot do a proper fix in a given timeslot. Openreach should have enough resources overall to keep its assets in a working order, something it quite often fails to do so!
      If a water pipe and gas pipe is damaged on a road, the reponsible water or gas company fixes it, and don’t leave it in an damaged state. There is no reason why Openreach can’t do the same thing for its copper lines and (in rare cases) fibre lines.

    • Avatar chris

      @GNewton
      what happens if the problem is with the isp supplied equipment or at the isp’s internet uplink? It does happen. OR charge the ISP more for each non OR related fault so the ISP’s are very specific in what they ask OR to do & OR are very specific in what they provide. OR will earn more from isp’s for additional work.

    • Avatar Clark

      ‘what happens if the problem is with the isp supplied equipment or at the isp’s internet uplink? It does happen.’

      If an engineer that is sent out can not determine it is the users equipment at fault or if their is a problem with the internet link in general, then it was not worth them visiting in the first place. It would also IMO be another worthless excuse. My supplied modem has a Openreach logo on it, i would expect them to replace that with no issues if it were faulty seeing as it is their equipment. In cases where that is not the case the ISP will normally send out a new device free of charge.

  7. Avatar TheManStan

    Should say “you weren’t contacting BT”

  8. Avatar Hedges

    ‘Err… no…

    Because OR does what the ISP has requested of them… if they screw-up you can only ever go back to ISP. Unless, you contacted OR directly for works between your termination in your house.’

    Obviously they do not, do as the ISP instruct. Especially when they turn up to your house and leave in the middle of the job they were instructed to do and leave it incomplete.

    ‘Why not OFCOM or small claims if OR engineer damaged your property and you are unable to resolve via whoever you tried to call?’

    I should not have to waste time in my later years reporting organisations and chasing them through courts if they were a credible organisation in the first place. Ofcom would do nothing anyway they do not look at individual complaints. As for court i do not see why i should waste further money and time on them, frankly i find it sickening you should think 60 year olds should have to do so, rather than accept they are an organisation of low morals and poor service.

    ‘Are you another troll? Because I could have sworn I called “BTOR poo at lots of things” earlier in a post on this page’

    You did and then you remove any credibility to that remark with the follow up of… “but I’d rather see the opposition be serious and deliver an alternative”. There would not need alternatives or Ofcom even considering splitting Openreach from the BT group if they did their job decently in the first place. As for being a troll i do not see how actual experience of a horrid organisation equates to me being a troll. I however do see how defending a horrid organisation for the benefit of a personal financial investment you may have in them though makes perfect sense.

    “About the BT’s bad services: If BT Group owns the last mile network, via Openreach, then it is up to them to keep it in a functional state…”

    Something it seems some people want to argue and level at the feet of an ISP. Rather than Openreach take any responsibility, no wonder the likes of the other big ISPs would also like to see them separated.

    Allowing things to continue as they are will solve nothing, splitting them from the group may also solve nothing but without trying we will never know.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      And how much government money are you willing to spend to see if something with zero guarantees of success and difference will work?

    • Avatar Hedges

      Who said anything about government money? Id prefer Openreach separated from the rest of BT and allow all the other providers to have a stake in the new separated company. That way to be fair to the shareholders here BT Group can still have a part in the company if they so wish. No provider or customer will then be left to their shoddy practices and blaming of the ISP because everyone will be responsible and equal. Providers all invest and in return and transparency get to see where their investment in the new Openreach is being spent. If they are not satisfied with their performance they can then just pull out, sell their stake, or cut back investment until the company dies entirely. Pretty much what happens with any large failing business which in more cases than not is brought back from ruin when things like this happen.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £18.00 (*22.00)
    Avg. Speed 30Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Code: SPRING19
  • Vodafone £21.00 (*23.00)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • TalkTalk £22.50
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Direct Save Telecom £22.95 (*29.95)
    Avg. Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £23.99 (*34.98)
    Avg. Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Prices inc. Line Rental | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. BT (2348)
  2. FTTP (1881)
  3. FTTC (1555)
  4. Broadband Delivery UK (1525)
  5. Politics (1292)
  6. Openreach (1285)
  7. Business (1140)
  8. Statistics (1010)
  9. Mobile Broadband (934)
  10. Fibre Optic (914)
  11. FTTH (901)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (845)
  13. Wireless Internet (842)
  14. 4G (814)
  15. Virgin Media (774)
  16. Sky Broadband (563)
  17. TalkTalk (543)
  18. EE (530)
  19. Vodafone (436)
  20. Security (378)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact