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Press Release | 16 May 2016

10 POINT PLAN FOR A BETTER OPENREACH

10 POINT PLAN FOR A BETTER OPENREACH

Vodafone UK, as part of an industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS) has written to Sharon White, the CEO of Ofcom, with a ‘10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’, a plan which contains a series of proposals aimed at creating a reformed Openreach capable of delivering better quality services and faster, more reliable speeds for all its customers.

Ultimately, this means better broadband and mobile internet for UK households, consumers and businesses – thereby boosting UK competitiveness.  It reflects best practice as outlined in the UK Corporate Governance Code and the proposals have also been drawn from a number of proven approaches in other UK sectors including the energy, civil aviation and water markets, as well as elsewhere around the world.

The full letter follows and it and the ‘10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’ can also be downloaded from this page:

Dear Sharon,

10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach

We are an industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS). Together we represent the interests of the majority of consumers and businesses that rely on Openreach, serving millions of broadband customers and spending billions each year on the national network. We represent the builders and operators of the UK’s next generation digital networks, as well as companies which deliver communications solutions to hundreds and thousands of organisations both big and small.

In February, Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review concluded that reforming Openreach is critical to improving Britain’s telecoms market. Although it stated that separation of Openreach from BT Group is “the cleanest and most clear-cut long-term solution”, Ofcom indicated that it would first explore other options that might deliver the necessary changes with less disruption. Ofcom is therefore considering how to create a more independent and customer-centric Openreach within BT Group. We are pleased that Ofcom is committed to an open, transparent and inclusive approach to this reform process, rather than a closed door negotiation with BT. We are therefore writing to set out our vision of how Ofcom can deliver its objectives.

We agree with Ofcom’s conclusion that the status quo cannot be allowed to continue over the next ten years given the critical importance of the UK’s digital communications infrastructure. The national network has to be able to deliver the world class connectivity that Britain needs, enabling a dynamic market where all industry players can invest and compete on a level playing field. We also agree with the UK Government when it stated that “the current relationship between BT and Openreach will not deliver the country’s needs for more competition, better innovation and better service”, and note that it urged Ofcom to take “whatever action is needed” to achieve this.

In light of this, we are publishing this coalition’s ’10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’, a programme which, if implemented in full, should deliver on Ofcom’s vision. This plan contains a series of proposals aimed at reforming Openreach. It reflects best practice as outlined in the UK Corporate Governance Code and the proposals have also been drawn from a number of proven approaches in other UK sectors including the energy, civil aviation 2 and water markets, as well as elsewhere around the world. Our proposals are grouped into three broad areas:

Reforming Openreach’s governance so it can act independently:

Giving Openreach clear purpose and accountability by:

  1. Establishing Openreach as a legally separate company

2. Creating an independent Openreach Board

3. Creating an independent body to oversee the transition and act as an adjudicator

Giving Openreach the tools it needs to succeed:

Creating a confident and ambitious Openreach that has the autonomy to plan for the future by:

4. Giving Openreach full control and ownership of its assets

5. Ensuring Openreach has its own standalone corporate identity and brand

6. Allowing Openreach to be financially independent and make its own investment decisions

Creating an Openreach that delivers for all:

Making sure that Openreach serves the whole market fairly to improve choice, value and quality for its customers by:

7. Providing all Openreach services on the same basis, no matter the customer

8. Ensuring that Openreach consults with all of its customers about its future strategy and proposed investments

9. Introducing competition to Openreach by making BT Consumer’s procurement truly contestable

10. Ensuring that Openreach does not inhibit investment by independent network operators.

If implemented in full, these reforms should deliver the step-change in effectiveness that customers need and remove barriers to a competitive market. The measures we have proposed are not controversial or drastic, but reflect arrangements which are commonplace for large listed companies. Our proposals are straightforward, simple, and can be achieved quickly and cost effectively.

We are committed to helping Ofcom achieve its goal of a more independent and responsive Openreach to the benefit of consumers. Reform is crucial to delivering the improved digital connectivity Britain needs. We believe that our plan is a vital step in achieving that vision.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO,

Sky Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO, Vodafone UK

Malcolm Corbett, CEO, Independent Networks Cooperative Association

Chris Pateman, CEO, Federation of Communication Services

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

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