Openreach ditches BT: Telecoms giant says it will take four years to remove two letters and complete rebrand

Oliver Gill
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As Neil Sedaka once said: breaking up is hard to do. But whether it's throwing away cherished photos or returning to your maiden name, separation is an important step in forging on alone.

And today, Openreach, the BT subsidiary that owns the majority of Britain's phone and broadband infrastructure, unveiled its sparkling new livery as it seeks to create a "distinct brand".

After a protracted battle, BT and telecoms regulator Ofcom came to an agreement in March over how to separate Openreach from the telecoms giant. As part of this agreement Openreach committed to change its branding.

The new logo was launched today, with Openreach becoming... openreach . "BT" will be scrubbed off its 22,000 vans, a process that will take until 2021.

Read more: BT Openfudge? What you need to know about the Ofcom deal

And it won't stop there; it will apply to customer-facing websites and apps, stationery, employee workwear and passcards, and buildings and signs. Openreach is so committed to the move it has created a video to prove it.

Openreach said: "The move reaffirms our commitment to treating all communications provider (CP) customers equally."

Meanwhile, chief executive Clive Selley has written a letter to all of its 580 CPs highlighting today's "small but symbolic step".

Openreach did not formally say how much removing two letters was costing. However sources close to the firm indicating a figure of "less than £10m" – a figure other industry watchers believe to be surprisingly low.

Read more: BT retains control in Openreach separation

Letter from Openreach to all its customers

To: Communications Providers: Openreach is changing

At Openreach, our number one priority is providing a better service to our customers and to achieve that, we’re making fundamental changes to the way we work.

I’ve been keeping you up to date with how we are implementing our Commitments following Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review in March 2017. We’re showing you, our customers, that we’re becoming more independent - an Openreach that deals with everyone on equal terms.

We’re implementing as many of the Commitments as we can now, ahead of Ofcom’s requirements, because we believe it’s the right thing to do.

We want to get on with the job of delivering better service, broader coverage and faster speeds across Britain, so we’ve already established the new Openreach Board, with an independent Chairman and a majority of independent members, and they are now playing a very active role in steering the business and setting its strategy.

We’ve also begun changing the way we engage with you our Communications Provider customers by introducing a confidential phase to our discussions on significant investments and major strategic developments.

Today, we’re making a further small but symbolic step, by launching our own distinct brand.

We’re removing the ‘BT’ element from the Openreach logo. This is a visual sign to reflect how we deal with everyone on equal terms. We are committed to delivering the highest standards to everyone and we’re doing this well ahead of Ofcom’s timeframe as we feel the re-brand is an important step in building trust with you and our stakeholders.

The re-brand is also an opportunity to restate what Openreach stands for and how we want to work going forward. Openreach is all about our people and our network.

We want our brand to be consistent and recognisable so we’re keeping the distinctive typeface and name, as our research suggests it will mean our engineers continue to be recognised when they knock on your customers’ doors.

As you’ll see from the new imagery and About Openreach video this isn’t an expensive or extravagant re-brand. It’s a simple and pragmatic step which will allow us to continue to focus on our business.

From today and over the coming weeks, months and years, we’ll be introducing the new logo and imagery into our key touchpoints – everything from our websites, slides and documents, ID cards and workwear to the 22,000 vans in our fleet. We’re rolling it out over the next 1-4 years to reduce costs and minimise the impact to you and your customers.

Clive Selly

Chief executive, Openreach

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