back to article Don't split Openreach, says BT, and we'll splash BEELLIONS on broadband and 4G

British Telecom has offered the UK government a familiar devil's bargain: protect us from competition and we'll spend an extra £6 billion on our broadband networks. The carrier's Thursday announcement to the London Stock Exchange comes just after comparison site uSwitch published a damning analysis of UK broadband speeds. …

  1. wolfetone

    Full Of What Makes The Grass Grow Green In Texas

    Bullshit.

    They have about as much notion to do what they're promising as I have to throw myself off the top of the building I'm working in right now. This whole line of "Oh we'll improve it we promise" has been spun year after year after year, but politicians fall for it every time with no or little improvement.

    Why? Because they have absolutely no clue what BT are talking about, and whatever BT says sounds good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Full Of What Makes The Grass Grow Green In Texas

      And its easier for the politicians - a promise of 'free' improvements that is someone else's responsibility.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Full Of What Makes The Grass Grow Green In Texas

      Why? Because BT slips them a bung.

      There, fixed that for you.

      1. wolfetone

        Re: Full Of What Makes The Grass Grow Green In Texas

        "Why? Because BT slips them a bung.

        There, fixed that for you."

        Well at least you were quicker than OpenReach.

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Cut them up and cut them up *now*

    Every monopoly (and BT remains effectively a monopoly in the back end) knows knows the most important thing is protecting the monopoly.

    And they will do and say anything to do this.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    I would give them "regulatory certainty"

    I would tell them that they are going to spend those billions - because if they don't, then they'll have no chance of surviving the competition that I will unleash on them.

    Monopoly generates complacency. BT is obviously the fat Jabba who, being pseudo-threatened, waves a pudgy hand and mumbles something of a promise before turning his attention back to his bikini-clad slave girl.

    Time to put a lightsaber through that.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I would give them "regulatory certainty"

      "they'll have no chance of surviving the competition that I will unleash on them."

      You mean the businesses what had years free from BT's competition to cherry-pick where they wanted to roll out fibre are suddenly going to want to grab what they studiously ignored in the past?

      Admittedly they do seem to have finally realised they don't have any assets within miles of here & have finally stopped sending me letter-box litter advertising their "service".

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: I would give them "regulatory certainty"

      Simple solution:

      Given ongoing lack of performance and given the money already ploughed in.

      Any further broadband funding is contingent on the full separation of BT and Openreach (This is how New Zealand achieved it)

      The issue at hand is actually a commerce one. Ofcom cannot and will not deal with an abusive monopoly. The competition commission needs to take action.

  4. Red Bren

    Same old story

    Perhaps if Openreach had already made the investment, rather than waiting for public subsidies, they might have a case.

    BT should be told to put up or shut up. Once they've finished rolling out fibre to every home, then we can talk about regulatory certainty.

    The fact that they are so desperate to hold on to what ought to be a profit-neutral, arms length subsidiary speaks volumes.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Same old story

      Perhaps if Openreach had already made the investment, rather than waiting for public subsidies, they might have a case.

      Those with short memories forget the outcry in the period before the BDUK project was finalised. All those who had failed to make infrastructure investment in the preceding decades shouted about how unfair it would be if BT were to be allowed to enhance their network...

      We saw similar back when BT owned O2, with competitors getting upset about BT potentially using it's position to created converged fixed/mobile product offerings such as the Fusion phone that were in line with the capabilities of the technology but were offerings the competition would find difficult to match...

      So BT is damned if it does invest and damned if it doesn't...

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Same old story - So BT is damned if it does invest and damned if it doesn't...

        We only know one of those is true.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That realisation that you live in a third world country

    Slow internet is becoming a national embarrassment.

  6. Only me!
    FAIL

    Please do not split us

    Do not split us up as you can see it must be worth a shed load to us, as we are willing to pretend we are interested in serving "something called" customers.

  7. Neil 44

    Don't compound the earlier mistake

    BT should never have been allowed to take over EE. It has given them an unfair advantage in the telecoms and networking arena...

    I too would support splitting Openreach away - that way I might have some hope of faster broadband with my lowly "Exchange Only" (discounting the cabinet / pillar that we have in the road!) line...

    1. Mike Shepherd
      Unhappy

      Re: Don't compound the earlier mistake

      My (virtual) mobile provider uses EE. I've noticed this week that DNS failures (e.g. from typing in the wrong web site name) now lead to a BT page instead. I thought I'd paid for straight internet access, but no...I must live with BT's view of the internet, so anything beyond browsing the web may not work as I expect.

      I left BT internet years ago when they decided that improved security meant they must block pings. (This screwed up our remote backup system). Will no-one rid us of this turbulent company?

      1. Neil 44

        Re: Don't compound the earlier mistake

        If you have a rooted phone, you can change your (2/3/4G) DNS provider to one of your choice: http://thedroidreview.com/how-to-change-dns-on-android-3g4g-root-without-root-methods-1984

  8. frank ly

    Put it in writing then

    In the form of a legally binding contract, with clearly stated timescales, measurable achievements, conditional stage payments and a combination of early finish bonuses with stiff penalty clauses for failures. I'm sure the government could manage that. Oh ..... wait a minute.

  9. Elmer Phud

    As one who was in the middle of the last fiasco, please bear a thought for those internal BT HellDesk workers who pick up the phone and go 'Hello, am I allowed to talk to you today?'.

  10. Syntax Error

    Government Agency

    BT is a government agency that pretends to be private company. It is up to the government to run it and order it to do what is required. No excuses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Government Agency

      quote

      BT is a government agency that pretends to be private company

      citation please?

      BT is a private company. The government (AFAIK) holds a golden share to stop it being taken over by a foreign company. Too much sensitive data goes over BT wires/fibre/wet string to let that happen.

      1. Andy Scott

        Re: Government Agency

        I thought the government still had the golden share as well, but it turns out the government sold it in 1997.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/government-abandons-bt-golden-share-1250939.html

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Government Agency

          I thought the government still had the golden share as well, but it turns out the government sold it in 1997.

          It does not need one with BT management operating in "golden share attitude mode" (TM).

  11. barstewardsquad

    So BT say they will do what they should already be doing if they don't have to split up their cartel?

    Funny how they suddenly seem to be able to promise to make Openreach fix a problem, something BT currently say they are unable to do. My "superfast" broadband with an estimated 30Mb only gives me 7Mb because Openreach say the line is "good enough" and BT can't make them fix the iffy copper.

    As said above, it does at least make the trees grow, albeit in this quantity the Amazon rain forest will have enough fertiliser for a millennium or two.

    1. circusmole

      I should be so lucky...

      <My "superfast" broadband with an estimated 30Mb only gives me 7Mb...>

      Me, and a lot of people in my immediate area in a largish town, are lucky to get 2.5MB/Sec on a good day.

      1. Country Bumpkin

        Re: I should be so lucky...

        <Me, and a lot of people in my immediate area in a largish town, are lucky to get 2.5MB/Sec on a good day.>

        Me, and a lot of people in my immediate area in a small village, are lucky to get 0.5MB/Sec on a good day.

  12. msknight Silver badge

    The fact that they have that much money to splash....

    ...tells you all you need to know.

  13. inmypjs Silver badge

    Something needs to change - shit service from the monopoly

    I have had crap with my FTTC connection since the middle of March. Speed only dropped by 20% so it isn't faulty enough to even mention it to openreach via the ISP. The kind of 'fuck you, take what you are given' service only a monopoly can provide.

    Turns out to be almost certainly due to a crap firmware update on ECI cabinets to support G.INP which they are currently backing out of due to problems it caused. It still leaves connections worse than they were before the update.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Something needs to change - shit service from the monopoly

      The kind of 'fuck you, take what you are given' service only a monopoly can provide.

      As opposed to the kind of "fuck you, we can't make a profit by selling to you" service that only an open market can sink to, you mean?

      Internet connectivity is getting kind-of important. The government wants us to do more and more online -- as a business owner I have to make VAT and employers PAYE returns online, for example -- so the government should be putting legislation in place that will ensure that every home and every business can get an internet connection with a sufficient speed to enable us to fulfil our statutory requirements without paying the earth. That doesn't mean "superfast", but it does mean a reliable connection at around 10-20Mb/s

      Once you have that legislation it matters little whether the service is provided by a monopoly or by commercial companies in competition, but without the legislation you will never get decent service in remote areas.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Something needs to change - shit service from the monopoly

        "As opposed to the kind of "fuck you, we can't make a profit by selling to you" service that only an open market can sink to, you mean?"

        An open market will always have _someone_ willing to sell to you - witness the various companies which have setup to offer rural broadband in the UK - only to find that BT swoops in on the areas, declaring they're profitable after all and undercut the competition.

        If you're describing the USA situation you need to be aware that most telcos in the USA have legislated local monopolies _without_ a universal service obligation, thanks to 30 years of bungs being slipped to the Public Utilities Commissions. http://www.alternet.org/story/148397/how_the_phone_companies_are_screwing_america%3A_the_$320_billion_broadband_rip-off

  14. Just Enough
    Mushroom

    Those that have, get more

    BT are currently doing blanket advertising that their Infinity broadband has "just got faster".

    This is great news to all of us who are still waiting for their exchange to be upgraded in order to take Infinity. Yup. It's fantastic knowing those lucky enough to have Infinity are getting even faster Infinity.

    Thanks, BT, for letting us know and concentrating your efforts there.

    1. The Boojum

      Re: Those that have, get more

      Likewise, those of us who have had our exchanges upgraded, but not our particular cabinets.

  15. Big_Ted

    Its all about money

    Openreach is the most profitable part of BT, the profits from it will be well over the 6 billion by 2020.

    Split Openreach off and apply utility rules to them, limit the profit they can make and have all the extra invested in infrastructure and research.

    BT can then goes its own way, charge what it likes the same as Sky, TalkTalk etc etc....

    That would be the best option for the customer as we would get the best possible network and true choice from providers.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "genuinely, really promises to roll out more fibre-to-the-premises in “new housing developments, high streets and business parks”

    My last flat was in a 10 years old development with 100+ flats 1/4 mile from the Exchange in SE London zone 4 - it didn't have fibre.

    My current flat is in a 2 year old development with 100+ flats in SE London zone 3 - it doesn't have fibre.

    If BT can't be bothered rolling out fibre to large developments in in London imagine how it is for the rural areas.

    1. attackcat

      My office is in EC1. So called Silicon Roundabout is a five minute walk away. We don't even get FTTC.

  17. myhandler

    This is the company lined up to purchase Channel 4 - the chump needs to be stopped - but big business has them all in it's pocket.

  18. Asterix the Gaul

    I 'm all for BT being split up,but not sure how their offer is genuine,as the promise ignores those already on slow speeds & 40mb\sec is 'slow' by 'superfast' comparison.

    The majority,who have fibre to 'cabinet' are ignored in this 'offer',so how it equates to 95% enjoying 'superfast',appears to be a 'LIE'.

    As a long time BT user, what pisses me off, is the raising of prices when they are already making £4 BILLION profit in one year,when so-called 'regulators' actually 'regulate' NOTHING AT ALL.

    In the face of the above, BT would still be pumping up the price increases,enough is enough.

    If the government abandoned smart meters, that money would have been better spent on 'superfast broadband,as well as splitting up BT.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      You could always move to Hull where we have our own monopoly and no opportunity to switch to another provider without the dubious setup of Wireless over Fibre.

  19. raytaylor

    I live in NZ. If you look at Chorus which seperated from Telecom NZ around 2007 and owns the lines/exchanges, they pretty much stopped all investment in the network. Their wholesale access pricing is regulated and so nothing gets invested into the network unless the government gives them grants. End of story.

    So the UK government can either

    - regulate pricing and threaten separation as a means to encourage self reinvestment

    - separate them and the taxpayers can pay for all investment.

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