Sky and TalkTalk call for BT Openreach break-up

Sky and TalkTalk have called for telecoms regulator Ofcom to force rival broadband provider BT to break up.

The request comes as part of an overarching review of the UK’s telecoms sector, the biggest in a decade, as reported by Reuters.

Ofcom says it wants to examine whether there is enough competition in the market, and determine if BT’s market leading position is a detriment to customers.

Sky and TalkTalk both currently rely on BT’s network infrastructure, a service provided by the company’s Openreach subsidiary.

Both providers want BT to spin-off Openreach into its own company, entirely separate from the BT business.

BT, however, disagrees, stating: “There is no case for structural separation, with the UK leading the EU’s five biggest economies for superfast broadband.”

“The current Openreach model has served the UK very well resulting in high levels of investment, intense retail competition, very high levels of coverage and take up and low prices.”

Related: BT EE Deal: Is it a good thing for consumers?

Sky believes that structural separation would boost the industry’s sustainability, encourage investment, and improve service for customers.

Ofcom must now take the opportunity to address Openreach’s conflict of interest as a subsidiary of BT or risk extending the problems that are affecting the industry and its customers today,” said Jeremy Darroch, Sky Chief Executive.

Talk was also openly dubious of BT’s proposed £12.5 billion acquisition of EE, suggesting it would only cause further damage to the industry.

TalkTalk’s Chief Executive Dido Harding said: “It will further starve Openreach of the focus and capital it needs, and will extend BT’s dominance of the market.”

“The larger group will have nearly 40 per cent of the entire consumer telecoms market and nearly 70 per cent of the wholesale market.”

There are currently no existing plans to force a BT break-up.

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