BT may fix final 5% while Sky and INCA call for Openreach split
The politics of where the UK is heading in the broadband world continue to be played out in public with Sky publishing a copy of a letter that has also been printed in the Financial Times too.
"We do not believe that the fundamental problems identified by Ofcom can be addressed by tinkering with the existing regulatory framework. Ofcom has done a good job of delivering competition on the old copper network, but the powers given to it are insufficient for the new superfast world.
It is therefore crucial that Ofcom moves as quickly as possible to ask the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with its far reaching powers, to undertake a full market investigation. Only the CMA, with the support of Ofcom, can address the structural barriers to competition that will unlock the next wave of investment in communications infrastructure that the country urgently needs. We cannot afford to wait."Letter signed by Sky, INCA, TalkTalk, Vodafone and others
The crux seems to centre around the same issues as raised recently in other letters from Sky and TalkTalk, namely that they feel Openreach is a failure and is not delivering, either in terms of access to fast and reliable broadband and sub-standard delivery experiences.
Referring the future to the CMA is something worth doing, but this investigations are lengthy generally and thus if referred today we would not expect anything concrete for 12 to 18 months, and then even if a FTSE 100 Openreach was to be created, this would take time to arrange and any benefits would not be felt for another year or so and if Openreach was to suddenly invest it would still take years to deliver nationally. Or put another way, this route is only going to provide measurable differences around 2018 and onwards.
In this war of posturing it is thought that the BT Group may be announcing this week plans to deliver fibre based broadband to the final 5% of homes in rural areas. It is possible that BT has been looking at the take-up figures and as a way of avoiding the split that many are calling for is willing to put more money into the rural broadband pot, until announcements are made of course it is difficult to tell. We do know that some broadband news is expected from BT this week and we will cover it as soon as we know anything concrete.
BT was also missing from the DCMS/BDUK pilots for the final 5% and with the Government expected to announce a chosen solution(s) and proper plans for the final 5% before the end of 2015 when the pilots have barely delivered the Government is racing towards the same mistakes that happened with the original BDUK pilots of awarding most of the main contracts before the pilots had had time to deliver anything working.
Beyond the campaigners and financial interests, the population of the UK is often forgotten and overwhelmingly the question is not about what type of technology, but people just wanting something that lets them watch video without buffering and without excessive waits for large downloads and when will it arrive and can I stay with my existing provider so I don't have to change email addresses.