Ofcom has assembled a broadband A-Team team to hold BT to account

 
Oliver Gill
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Quit your jibber-jabber: Ofcom today announced an Openreach Monitoring Unit will be launched with a watching brief over BT and Openreach (Source: Getty)

The UK's telecoms regulator has assembled a crack squad to scrutinise whether BT is living "by the letter and spirit of their commitments" to separate its infrastructure arm Openreach.

The move is part of a range of measures announced by Ofcom this morning, designed to "measure and monitor" Openreach.

In March, BT and Ofcom ended a long-running dispute over how Openreach, which owns the majority of the UK's telecoms infrastructure, ought to be separated from its parent company.

BT agreed to a series of proposals which included moving Openreach into a separate legal entity with its own board and creating its own brand and identity. It will, however, remain a subsidiary of BT.

Ofcom subsequently asked for input from the public on how it should hold BT to account on its promises.

Read more: Openreach says it will take until 2021 to remove two letters

Ofcom's broadband SWAT team

Today, the regulator said it will establish a dedicated "Openreach Monitoring Unit", charged with a watching brief over the telecoms giant.

Ofcom said in a statement:

The unit will assess whether new governance rules are being observed, and whether Openreach is acting more independently of BT, making its own decisions, and treating all its customers equally.

If BT fails to deliver, the regulator warned it will not be afraid to "revisit the model and consider new measures to address any concerns".

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said: "BT has made positive progress towards implementing the reforms.

"Once they are complete, Ofcom will keep a careful eye on whether Openreach is working for telecoms users, ensuring BT and Openreach live by the letter and spirit of their commitments. If we see problems emerging, we won't hesitate to act."

A spokesperson for Openreach said it supported Ofcom's statement, adding:

“There are still some preconditions that need to be met before Openreach is fully incorporated, but we’re acting like Openreach Limited already.

“We are committed to delivering better outcomes for UK consumers and businesses, including better service, faster speeds and broader coverage.”

Read more: BT boss: We can "hire and fire" Openreach board

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