News

10 POINT PLAN FOR A BETTER OPENREACH

May 16, 2016

Vodafone UK, as part of an industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS) has written to Sharon White, the CEO of Ofcom, with a ‘10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’, a plan which contains a series of proposals aimed at creating a reformed Openreach capable of delivering better quality services and faster, more reliable speeds for all its customers.

Ultimately, this means better broadband and mobile internet for UK households, consumers and businesses – thereby boosting UK competitiveness.  It reflects best practice as outlined in the UK Corporate Governance Code and the proposals have also been drawn from a number of proven approaches in other UK sectors including the energy, civil aviation and water markets, as well as elsewhere around the world.

The full letter follows and it and the ‘10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’ can also be downloaded from this page:

Dear Sharon,

10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach

We are an industry coalition comprising Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, the Independent Networks Cooperative Association (INCA) and the Federation of Communication Services (FCS). Together we represent the interests of the majority of consumers and businesses that rely on Openreach, serving millions of broadband customers and spending billions each year on the national network. We represent the builders and operators of the UK’s next generation digital networks, as well as companies which deliver communications solutions to hundreds and thousands of organisations both big and small.

In February, Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review concluded that reforming Openreach is critical to improving Britain’s telecoms market. Although it stated that separation of Openreach from BT Group is “the cleanest and most clear-cut long-term solution”, Ofcom indicated that it would first explore other options that might deliver the necessary changes with less disruption. Ofcom is therefore considering how to create a more independent and customer-centric Openreach within BT Group. We are pleased that Ofcom is committed to an open, transparent and inclusive approach to this reform process, rather than a closed door negotiation with BT. We are therefore writing to set out our vision of how Ofcom can deliver its objectives.

We agree with Ofcom’s conclusion that the status quo cannot be allowed to continue over the next ten years given the critical importance of the UK’s digital communications infrastructure. The national network has to be able to deliver the world class connectivity that Britain needs, enabling a dynamic market where all industry players can invest and compete on a level playing field. We also agree with the UK Government when it stated that “the current relationship between BT and Openreach will not deliver the country’s needs for more competition, better innovation and better service”, and note that it urged Ofcom to take “whatever action is needed” to achieve this.

In light of this, we are publishing this coalition’s ’10 Point Plan for a Better Openreach’, a programme which, if implemented in full, should deliver on Ofcom’s vision. This plan contains a series of proposals aimed at reforming Openreach. It reflects best practice as outlined in the UK Corporate Governance Code and the proposals have also been drawn from a number of proven approaches in other UK sectors including the energy, civil aviation 2 and water markets, as well as elsewhere around the world. Our proposals are grouped into three broad areas:

Reforming Openreach’s governance so it can act independently:

Giving Openreach clear purpose and accountability by:

  1. Establishing Openreach as a legally separate company

2. Creating an independent Openreach Board

3. Creating an independent body to oversee the transition and act as an adjudicator

Giving Openreach the tools it needs to succeed:

Creating a confident and ambitious Openreach that has the autonomy to plan for the future by:

4. Giving Openreach full control and ownership of its assets

5. Ensuring Openreach has its own standalone corporate identity and brand

6. Allowing Openreach to be financially independent and make its own investment decisions

Creating an Openreach that delivers for all:

Making sure that Openreach serves the whole market fairly to improve choice, value and quality for its customers by:

7. Providing all Openreach services on the same basis, no matter the customer

8. Ensuring that Openreach consults with all of its customers about its future strategy and proposed investments

9. Introducing competition to Openreach by making BT Consumer’s procurement truly contestable

10. Ensuring that Openreach does not inhibit investment by independent network operators.

If implemented in full, these reforms should deliver the step-change in effectiveness that customers need and remove barriers to a competitive market. The measures we have proposed are not controversial or drastic, but reflect arrangements which are commonplace for large listed companies. Our proposals are straightforward, simple, and can be achieved quickly and cost effectively.

We are committed to helping Ofcom achieve its goal of a more independent and responsive Openreach to the benefit of consumers. Reform is crucial to delivering the improved digital connectivity Britain needs. We believe that our plan is a vital step in achieving that vision.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Darroch, Group CEO,

Sky Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO, Vodafone UK

Malcolm Corbett, CEO, Independent Networks Cooperative Association

Chris Pateman, CEO, Federation of Communication Services

Contact
Vodafone UK Media Relations
01635 693 693
ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications. Vodafone Group has mobile operations in 25 countries, partners with mobile networks in 46 more, and has fixed broadband operations in 18 markets. As of 31 March 2018, Vodafone Group had 535.8 million mobile customers and 19.7 million fixed broadband customers, including India and all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates. For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone UK partners with businesses of all sizes - from start-ups and small businesses to the largest corporates and the public sector. The company has worked with UK businesses for over 30 years, starting out as a mobile provider and becoming one of the UK’s leading total communications partners. It provides a range of voice and data services, secure communications infrastructure, fixed and contact centre capability, and unified communications, and was the first mobile phone operator to offer a truly converged service for fixed and mobile.

Vodafone UK

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Vodafone UK Media Relations

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