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BT could've invested more admits Openreach chairman

Feb 6th, 08:39 by

bt openreach van with fibre engineer.jpg

The chairman of BT’s Openreach division Mike McTighe has admitted that a lot more of the company’s money should’ve been invested in upgrading the UK’s broadband.

BT created the Openreach chairman position and appointed McTighe to it last October in attempt to satisfy Ofcom’s demand that they make Openreach more independent.

McTighe has pledged to invest more “in the ground” to improve the quality of internet access throughout Britain.

“Should that have been done a few years ago? Of course. But we are where we are” He added.

The comment was made as he appointed two new independent directors to the Openreach board, ex-director of the National Grid Edward Astle and former union boss Sir Brendan Barber.

BT have strongly denied the allegation (which has also been put forward by a number of different MPs, competitors and regulators) that they’ve acted to underfund Openreach which is the telecommunication giant’s biggest profit generator.

It’s been speculated that BT are set to increase their network spending and provide two million households with a superfast fibre optic connection. A further 10 million will be fitted with a cheaper upgrade that’s designed to squeeze a faster speed out of existing lines.

McTighe also revealed that BT have made further adjustments in order to try and cancel Ofcom’s request that they legally split from Openreach.

The network unit’s chief executive Clive Selley will now report to McTighe rather than to BT’s chief executive apart from “matters relating to BT’s responsibilities as a publicly listed company” and Openreach have stated that their new audit, remuneration and nomination committees would only include independent directors.

Ofcom were not satisfied by these decisions however and are still adamant about Openreach being completely in control of their own legal affairs.

McTighe said he was staying out of the argument, but stated: “I have run multinationals. Never once have I worried about the legal structure and what assets are where.”

Source: The Telegraph

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