Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone stick the boot into BT over 'sub-standard' broadband


BT has been roundly criticised by several of its rivals for delivering a 'sub-standard' broadband service to millions of customers across the UK.

The chief executives of Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk all signed a letter sent to the Financial Times that calls for Ofcom to urge the Competition and Markets Authority to undertake a thorough review of the current situation.

"It is [therefore] crucial that Ofcom moves as quickly as possible to ask the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), with its far reaching powers, to undertake a full market investigation. Only the CMA, with the support of Ofcom, can address the structural barriers to competition that will unlock the next wave of investment in communications infrastructure that the country urgently needs. We cannot afford to wait," read the letter.

What else?

In addition to the complaints about sub-par service provided to consumers, the letter goes on to say that broadband must be improved in hard-to-reach areas in order for alternative providers to lay on services and in the same breathe increase competition.

"We do not believe that the fundamental problems identified by Ofcom can be addressed by tinkering with the existing regulatory framework," the letter added.

It goes on to point out the conflict of interest that stems from BT's role as owner of BT Openreach, something already identified by Ofcom as something that must be investigated.

Decision before 2016

Ofcom released a paper back in July suggesting BT Openreach, the company's network arm, could be completely detached from BT to eliminate the chance of discrimination when rivals are using its networks to provide broadband to customers.

Responses to that document are open until October 8 and by the end of the year Ofcom will have provided a statement to inform its regulatory activities for the next 10 years. Whether this letter makes an difference remains to be seen.