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BT willing to grant more Openreach broadband division more independence

The phone company is under pressure from MPs as well as its rivals to ensure the UK's internet infrastructure is receiving the requisite attention and funding.


BT shows willingness to give its broadband infrastructure subsidiary more independence.

Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images

BT said on Monday that it is willing to give more independence to its broadband division, Openreach.

"We need to improve the transparency," said BT Chairman Mike Rake, speaking to BBC radio. "We're absolutely willing to form an Openreach board that would have an independent chairman, a majority of independent directors."

Rake's promise follows the publication of a report by Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Committee last week in which BT was accused of "significantly underinvesting" in Openreach. It also precedes the publication later this week of findings by telecoms watchdog Ofcom into how Openreach is run.

Openreach operates as a subsidiary of BT, but is responsible for almost all of the UK's broadband infrastructure, something rival broadband providers have long argued presents BT with an unfair advantage.

A separate Ofcom investigation that took place in February concluded it was not necessary for BT and Openreach to go their separate ways, but warned the company that it would need to open up its infrastructure and that if service did not improve it would be fined.

BT did not respond immediately to a request for further comment.