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TalkTalk, Sky, Vodafone launch “Fix Britain’s Internet” lobbying campaign

Fix Britain's Internet

After Ofcom’s ruling that Openreach should become a separate legal entity within BT, rival ISPs have launched a collaborative campaign to pressure the regulator into a full separation.

As part of its ruling, Ofcom opened a public consultation period in which the telecoms industry, businesses and consumers can voice their opinion over broadband delivery. To further lobby the regulator into completely breaking Openreach away from BT; competitors including TalkTalk, Sky, Vodafone and the Federation of Communication Services have launched the “Fix Britain’s Internet” programme.

Proclaiming to be championing UK businesses and working to deliver companies the “reliable, fast internet that the need”, the collaboration is encouraging businesses to contact Ofcom directly and let them know just how terrible everything is.

“For too long, UK businesses have been let down by the nation’s broadband infrastructure, receiving poor speeds and even poorer service,” said TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding.

TalkTalk is leading the Fix Britain’s Internet initiative, and the telco said in the announcement of the collaboration that British businesses have been badly let down by the current system. It went on to say it is “simply not right” that  businesses have to wait weeks, months and in some cases years to access high speed internet.

“How is the UK economy supposed to grow and compete with the rest of the world with one hand tied behind its back by failing broadband?” said Harding, patriotically. “Ofcom’s proposals simply don’t go far enough, and we know many people up and down the country feel the same way. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for them to tell the regulator directly they don’t want a halfway house for another decade, they want truly radical change now.”

Ofcom, however, stated in its announcement yesterday the radical change TalkTalk seeks is undesirable right now unless absolutely necessary. When giving BT its new objectives for Openreach, the regulator said a full separation of the two will cause significant legal, financial, business and regulatory disruption which will damage investment in Openreach infrastructure in the short-to-medium term. After all, the ultimate aim of this whole saga is to increase investment in the nation’s broadband infrastructure.

Here’s what the Fix Britain’s Internet website says are five things you need to know:

  • BT is paid to maintain the national network, but even the regulator says it’s not good enough.
  • BT spends more buying the rights for televised football than it invests in Britain’s infrastructure.
  • Through taxpayer money and part of your bill, BT is paid billions to maintain the network. But in parts of the UK, two thirds of people can’t get the speeds BT is paid to deliver.
  • BT has kept Openreach reliant on copper rather than investing in state of the art pure fibre like other countries. Copper is up to 100 times slower and far less reliable.
  • Writing to Ofcom could help give Britain the internet that we deserve.

Ofcom’s open consultation period on next steps for BT Openreach is open until 4th October. One gets the impression plenty more words will be exchanged before the deadline comes around.


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