UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has raised concerns over the level of control BT continues to hold on Openreach’s strategy, affecting its true independence after legally separating from BT a year ago.
In an annual report published yesterday, Ofcom acknowledged the positive progress that Openreach had made on becoming independent, including the building of a new board and removal of the BT branding.
However the regulator added that BT and Openreach may yet to have struck “the appropriate balance”, as evidence showed BT remains “significantly involved” in the offshoot’s financial planning process.
Final legal separation has yet to occur, due to unforeseen issues surrounding BT’s pension scheme. Though these issues have now been resolved, the report said that it held up the transfer of employees in full from the former parent company to Openreach.
Openreach said that it agrees there is still more to do, but that it is pleased with Ofcom’s findings so far.
A specialist team was set up in 2017 to specifically monitor the situation, which Ofcom said it will continue to do for the next 12 months.
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