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BT fails on broadband unbundling

Antony Savvas

BT’s Openreach broadband delivery division is failing on quality of service, says the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator.

Openreach was set up by BT to improve the service to rival suppliers wanting access to BT’s exchanges to deliver their own “unbundled” broadband lines to customers.

Unbundled services, which still rely on parts of BT’s underlying infrastructure, potentially allow rival suppliers to offer tailored broadband features to their customers, instead of relying on the vanilla services available through BT’s wholesale division.

But the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator, set up by communications regulator Ofcom to supervise the performance of Openreach, says the division is failing to come up to scratch.

The adjudicator says the number of lines unbundled through Openreach has now exceeded 850,000, but that “end to end right first time results were lower than acceptable”.

The adjudicator says, “A number of quality of service measures are causing severe concern. The right first time delivery of ‘business as usual’ (BAU) unbundled lines continues to deviate from planned quality levels – currently 78% against a target of 98%.”

Fault repair quality is also showing “a significant and ongoing deterioration in performance”, said the adjudicator.

BT had promised that these matters would be addressed by September, but it had failed to deliver, the adjudicator said. BT says it is in the process of improving matters this month.

If it fails to do so, it could face legal action by Ofcom, which originally decided to shelve legal action in response to the way BT behaved towards its competitors in the market, after the telco agreed to set up Openreach.


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