BT must open up cable network: Watchdog

Ofcom announces decision on BT's Openreach

U.K. telecoms giant BT has been ordered by the country's communications watchdog to open its cable network Openreach to rivals.

Openreach is a BT subsidiary that owns the cables connecting people to the internet. Other telecoms operators and broadband providers need to use this infrastructure.

Last month, a report backed by 121 cross-party members of parliament suggested that BT be forced to sell Openreach to boost competition -- a move that chief executive Gavin Patterson warned would "create huge instability problems across the whole of the market."

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However in a statement issued Thursday, communications regulator Ofcom said that while Openreach should remain part of BT, the networks division "needs to change, taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy, in consultation with the wider industry."

The division will need to make it much easier for rivals to access the network and provide comprehensive details of its infrastructure, Ofcom added

The U.K.'s broadband network has come under criticism for its inadequate reach and speed. The parliamentary report found that despite £1.7 billion ($2.42 billion) of taxpayers' money pumped into the construction of high-speed broadband, 5.7 million people across Britain cannot access 10 megabits per second internet speeds, a target required by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.

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