ISPs TalkTalk, Sky, Vodafone Launch New "Fix Britain's Internet" Campaign - ISPreview UK
Several major Internet providers and other organisations, including TalkTalk, Vodafone, Sky Broadband, XLN and the Federation of Communication Services, have today launched a new campaign that encourages business to criticise the quality of Openreach’s UK network as part of Ofcom’s Strategic Review.

It’s fair to say that TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and Vodafone had mixed feelings about the proposal put forward by Ofcom yesterday (here), which once again stopped short of delivering full structural separation of Openreach (BT’s network access division) from the BT Group. The ISPs see this as the best way to deliver a strong, fast and fair national broadband network.

By comparison Ofcom viewed full separation as a complicated, lengthy and financially risky model, although they’ve continued to leave the option on the table in case BT refuses to meet their demand for Openreach to also become a “legally separate company” and for it to be able to have confidential discussions with its customers without oversight by BT.

In keeping with that it should be no surprise that BT’s rivals have today moved to ratchet-up the pressure again by launching the Fix Britain’s Internet campaign, which encourages businesses to join and voice their frustrations over the quality of Openreach’s national broadband and telecoms network.

Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk, said:

“For too long, UK businesses have been let down by the nation’s broadband infrastructure, receiving poor speeds and even poorer service. How is the UK economy supposed to grow and compete with the rest of the world with one hand tied behind its back by failing broadband?

Ofcom’s proposals simply don’t go far enough, and we know many people up and down the country feel the same way. This is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for them to tell the regulator directly they don’t want a halfway house for another decade, they want truly radical change now.”
Saeed Sheikh, MD of Accounts at XLN Telecom, added:

“Openreach has continuously failed to meet ours and our customers’ expectations thanks to its appalling service levels. 10 working days to connect customers to the UK’s telecom network is just far too long – the business world moves much faster than that.”
The new campaign suggests that British businesses are being “badly let down by the current system” and complain that it’s “simply not right that businesses have to wait weeks, months, and in some case years, to access to the high-speed, reliable connectivity that is critical to success in the modern commercial world.” As such it views Ofcom’s final consultation as a “once in a decade opportunity” to tackle the problem by fully separating Openreach from BT.

On the other hand Ofcom believe that their approach “resembles full structural separation in its outcomes, without requiring the full divestment of Openreach by BT Group” and that this model, when combined with their new service performance targets and other changes, should tackle most or all of the complaints by competitors, albeit without going the whole hog.

The fact that this new campaign also helps to shift the perception of blame for all things connectivity related onto Openreach’s shoulders, including perhaps those bits of an ISPs network that are not beholden to Openreach, is possibly another fringe benefit for the aforementioned providers.