Ofcom is reviewing the future of the BT Openreach project while it has also revealed that 42 per cent of premises now have 4G mobile broadband available through all four operators.
The strategic review of digital communications, which was announced in March, will move to focus on the development of BT's Openreach programme which sees the company tasked with ensuring equal access to competitor connected services, as well as examining competition, investment, innovation and the availability of all digital communications services such as broadband, mobile, landline and bundled services
Ofcom is seeking views on whether it should separate Openreach from BT having stated 'concern' for its performance and is considering deregulation and promotion of competing networks in order to incentivise the improvement of its infrastructure.
Mai Fyfield, chief strategy officer for Sky welcomed placing the future of Openreach at the centre of the review, and stated: “For too long, consumers and businesses have been suffering because the existing structure does not deliver the innovation, competition and quality of service that they need. We believe Ofcom should now move quickly to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a full competition inquiry. In a rapidly changing sector, it is vital for the UK that the national telecoms network delivers a service fit for the 21st century.”
Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom, explained that the review would aim to ensure the best possible communications services were being delivered: "Our priorities are clear. We want to promote competition, investment and innovation, so that everyone benefits from even better coverage, choice, price and quality of service in years to come."
The organisation also expressed continued concern about the availability of broadband connections in rural areas and has said the review will aim to find potential solutions to the problems that also include some urban areas.
Although less than half of premises are able to receive broadband from the four main operators, Ofcom also claimed that 90 per cent were served by at least one.
Responses to this stage of the review will be open to the public until 8 October.