Re: Pension scheme.
"So, their argument is, that because they can't run a pension scheme properly, they should be allowed to monopolise the market to pay for their incompetence?"
As per another comment, the pension scheme is run by a separate, specialist company as is normal. The trustees represent BT and employees.
The deficit is a partly result of the Treasury/IR/HMRC screwing pension schemes over the years (Exhibit A: Gordon Brown's ditching tax relief on dividend income for pension funds; clearly a tax on the future as seen from the 1990s and now we are in that future. Exhibit B: the tax-man's suspicion that pension funds* are a vehicle for secreting profits leading to enforced contribution "holidays" when the fund gets in surplus in economic good times, in turn leading to deficits in bad times because of the missed contributions; we've had a lot of those bad times lately. Exhibit C: low interest rates and QE cutting the income from bonds used to pay pensions; IOW more bad times).
The deficit might have been made worse by the cutting of headcount over the years. There are now fewer contributing members but many surviving ex-members who are receiving or will be due to receive pensions.
The consequence is that BT is making extra payments to try to get the fund back into balance. That's money that can't be invested in infrastructure.
But don't let's have facts getting in the way of a good rant.
*The tax-man doesn't have to worry about the funding of his pension. That's essentially a Ponzi scheme.