BT's Openreach division should become distinct company

Media watchdog Ofcom have resisted calls to split Openreach off from BT entirely following campaigns for changes to improve the 'woeful levels of service from Openreach' suffered by millions.

Instead, Ofcom said its plans would ensure the most independence from BT without the costs of a full break up.  More people will receive faster, more reliable broadband as a result of the changes, Ofcom boss Sharon White told the BBC.

The plans "can be introduced within months", rather than the years that a sell-off would involve, Ms White said.

Ofcom ruled that BT's Openreach, whose network covers 30 million customers, should be a legally distinct company with its own board, branding and control over its budget allocation.  BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said it was a "sensible way forward" and accepted broadband services could be "better".

He said 95% of the country would have high-speed internet by the end of 2017, and the telecoms giant hopes to fill the 5% gap by 2020.  However, consumer group Which? said customers would expect the changes to "deliver big improvements" in Openreach's "woeful" service.

"Telecoms are an essential part of our daily lives and so it is vital that everyone can access good quality broadband, switching is made easier and compensation is made available when things do go wrong," said Alex Neill, Which? director of policy and campaigns.

To view the full story by the BBC, please click here.

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