BT insists Openreach key to UK broadband future

Gavin Patterson, the Group CEO of UK telco BT, has stressed how important he thinks a BT-owned Openreach is to the development of UK fixed line infrastructure.

In response to a question from at the end of his Broadband World Forum 2015 keynote address, Patterson questioned whether the current levels of UK broadband coverage and speed would have happened if Openreach had been made independent of BT back when it was created almost a decade ago. He said that a BT-owned Openreach remains a better option for the country as a whole than the inferred narrow commercial interested that would be served by its forced separation.

Patterson opened his keynote with a reference to Back to the Future Day, with 21 October 2015 being the date that was travelled to in the second of those films. “People want to connect with each other whenever and whenever they are,” said Patterson, applauding the accuracy of some of the film’s predictions.

The theme inevitably moved to the investment required to service that demand, and Patterson reminded the audience that BT is the UK’s third largest R&D investor. “We stand ready to deliver minimum broadband speeds of 5-10mbps to everyone in the UK,” he said. “We’re willing to support the government in ensuring the most inaccessible parts of the UK are connected.”

On top of population coverage, Patterson was keen to bring attention to the recent announcement of its trail, in partnership with Alcatel-Lucent, which achieved speeds of over 5 Gbps on a short length of copper cable in lab conditions. “We’re committed to rolling out to 10 million properties by 2020, but we’re not stopping there. Yesterday we announced we have begun testing a new technology called,” he said.

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