In its second report, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee says BT is “significantly under investing” in Openreach, its infrastructure subsidiary. Based on a report commissioned from a panel of independent experts, the Committee concluded the shortfall in investment could potentially be hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
A few snippets: –
“At present, a sizeable number of people and businesses lack access to good, reliable and affordable broadband communications; and without that they are at risk of being digitally excluded and left behind.”
“The UK is a laggard by international standards in providing fibre connectivity. This could result in a widening, not a narrowing, of the digital divide; especially as demand for faster services escalates after 2020.”
“UK broadband access infrastructure is dominated by BT’s local access network subsidiary ….. but one consequence of this rapid rollout has been that the programme appears to have tackled the easier-to-reach premises within the interventions areas first and has not delivered coverage to whole areas. Instead, it has left a patchwork of premises that have not been reached, and created much uncertainty among local residents as to whether or not they will be connected or receive improved speeds.”
“A further downside of the BDUK programme has been the lack of transparency in Openreach’s costs and deployment plans, the apparent effect of which has been to stifle local competition and thwart other network providers’ planning. At the same time, Openreach’s historically poor service record has failed to improve in the face of escalating demands on the network.”