Re: Do I understand this correctly?
Not that simple. Government should be, and BE SEEN TO BE independent of those companies with whom it contracts. By the same token I would be appalled if (say) Fred the Shred was given a significant post within the PRA/FCA given he is simply too close to those he would be policing.
This is nothing about bribes, its about perception.
Yes, I see that there is usefulness in getting private/public sector crossover of experience, but that should not carry with it anything put the perception of experience. If you are precluded from helping your ex-employer in your new employment and you decide not to take the job as a result, are you really considering the job for the right reasons?
A comparison would be audit firms. For good and sound reasons auditors can't hold shares in the companies they audit. They can't leave the audit firm and join a company they audited without going through this type of "cooling off" and pain for the ex-employer. This is simply a "being seen to be" independent, not merely being independent. This is sensible, and necessary following from previous audit scandals. It's not foolproof, but it helps, and seems to work. Why won't it work with Government?.
My query on the process is simple - are UK taxpayers paying BT for BT to obtain an asset that it will then seek to charge taxpayers for the use of?
If BT is saying that it won't because it will make no money off the infrastructure, then keep it in public ownership (BT becomes a hole digger) and charge BT (and others) for its use as and when they get customers on the end.
Or, if this is an incentive to build, make it a cheap loan to be repaid such that a proportion of each subscriber's bill (from any telco) is given back to HM Government until the loan is repaid. Obviously the subscriber pays the same no matter where he/she is located, consider the loan repayment a cash version of depreciation on something BT had self-financed.
It's the same argument that one could put to Starbucks - if you make no profit in the UK why do you do business here?