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Ofcom wants major restructure for Openreach

As expected,Britishtelecom regulator Ofcom unveiled proposals for an overhaul of 's infrastructuredivision Openreach, stopping short of calling for a complete separation.

In a July 26 news release, Ofcom said Openreach shouldbecome a legally separate company within the BT group. The entity will have itsown board composed ofmostly non-executive directors, who will be appointed and removed by BT afterconsulting with Ofcom.

Openreach will also be required to conduct consultations onlarge-scale broadband investments with its customers, including and . Suchclients will be allowed to discuss ideas on their own during a confidentialphase.

Further, Openreach will have control of its own physicalnetwork, as well as a separate brand, strategy and annual operating plans. Itsstaff will be considered as its own employees, and not of BT, to prevent anypotential conflict of interest.

The regulator said the proposed reforms seek to allowOpenreach to act more independently from BT. If this goal will not be met,Ofcom will reconsider a complete breakup of the two entities, as previouslyconsidered in the first phase of its digital communications .

Ofcom has opened a consultation process on its plans forOpenreach, with comments from interested parties to be accepted until Oct. 4.

Meanwhile, the telecom watchdog also targets to imposestricter minimum service requirements on Openreach in the coming months,specifically in relation to repair requests and line installations.

As regards the wider telecom industry, Ofcom will alsopublish performance tables that rank telecom operators according to theirquality of service, as well as update its mobile and broadband coverage checkermaps with information based on individual address.