BT willing to give Openreach more autonomy

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Outgoing chairman Sir Mike Rake said telecoms giant may set up separate board ahead of Ofcom decision on future of infrastructure division

BT could set up a separate board aimed at giving infrastructure arm Openreach more autonomy, according to outgoing chairman Sir Mike Rake.

Speaking to BBC radio ahead of an Ofcom decision on the future of Openreach which is due to be published this week, Rake said BT would be willing to give the infrastructure division more say over investment.

Rivals have called on Ofcom, who will make a ruling on whether to split Openreach tomorrow (July 26), to break up the telecoms giant.

Sir Michael Rake - BT ChairmanRake (pictured, right) said: “We need to improve the transparency. We’re absolutely willing to form an Openreach board that will have an independent chairman, a majority of independent directors.

“We’re willing to give more authority to Openreach on determination of its capital investment programme.”

Four in five UK broadband connections in the UK are supplied by Openreach, which manages the majority of the UK’s cable assets. It is regulated so that BT’s rivals, such as TalkTalk, Sky and Vodafone, can access it on the same terms as BT’s retail division.

Those rivals claim that by giving BT Group’s board control over how Openreach invests in infrastructure, it is given an unfair advantage.

Rake’s words follow a report published by the Committee for culture, media and sport which claimed BT was underinvesting in Openreach by “hundreds of millions of pounds.”

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