Openreach has had its first board meeting
The Ofcom led market review into whether or not Openreach can remain within the BT Group PLC but operate more independently or full separation is the not the only topic with strong views it is very reminiscent of a vote the UK public made in June 2016 which had a close 52/48 split over the UK leaving the EU.
As part of the changes underway and some that the BT Group and Openreach hope will allow the local loop operator to remain within the group is the appointment of an independent board for Openreach, and on Tuesday 31st January 2017 this new board held its first meeting.
There are two new independent members on the board in the form of Sir Brendan Barber, former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and current chair of Acas, and Edward Astle, a former Board member of National Grid who joined the chairman Mike McTighe. A fourth independent non-exec member of the board will be appointed shortly.
"Openreach’s network and connectivity underpins Britain’s digital economy and we know that our customers have very high expectations of us.
I understand that customers sometimes feel let down by Openreach because we haven’t always delivered the service they expect or that we hope to provide. We have made a lot of progress since Clive Selley joined as CEO a year ago - for example on halving the number of missed appointments, making our fibre network available to millions more people and accelerating our plan to introduce a new generation of ultrafast technology. But we need to do more to re-build trust and credibility. This will be the Board’s focus and we are currently in consultation with BT Group about agreeing the plan to deliver better service, broader coverage and faster speeds for consumers and businesses across the country.
We are determined to meet our customers’ expectations and to strengthen the autonomy, governance and transparency of Openreach to facilitate the delivery of better outcomes for everyone who has a stake in our business."Mike McTighe, Chairman of Openreach
The challenges ahead for Openreach are many and while some may prove easy to achieve, the difficult part will be winning over hearts and minds as almost no matter what, any metric you can measure is often met by criticism from those that fell outside the metric be it fault repairs, install times or simply the availability of decent broadband.
The future is fibre and pure fibre, and while this does get acknowledged by various people within the BT Group, it may be that to get people on board much more clarity is needed on what the long term plans and visions are.