BT has been under a lot of pressure to let Openreach go, and now the Labour Party is joining in on the action. There is a lot of UK’s countryside with poor mobile signal (or no signal whatsoever), and the blame is usually laid on BT and Openreach, BT’s infrastructure division established to improve the countrywide quality of the network.
After Ofcom and Sky, Labour party’s Shadow Secretary of the State for Culture, Chris Bryant got his point across, through an opinion piece posted on The Telegraph.
“It has become as integral a part of a British August as the rain. Everyone goes on holiday somewhere in the British countryside and suddenly discovers that vast reaches of the country are no-go areas for mobile phones and broadband,” said Bryant, who suggested that the current government makes a lot of noise and delivers little action.
“The prime minister says he’s fed up with it. He announces that something will be done and the government spin machine goes immediately into motion,” he added.
“Even the very basic level of 2Mbps is not available in some parts thanks to the government’s decision to abandon Labour’s target of achieving 100 percent coverage by 2012,” he added.
He does see Ofcom activity as the solution, but it needs a little nudge – the watchdog has its hands tied and does not have the power to bring Openreach to task over its performance.
“At the very least Openreach should be held accountable for its poor quality of service – the delays for repairs, the missed appointments, the months of waiting to switch providers. But Ofcom also needs to be brought into focus,” he said.
“It is time the government stopped dithering and got on with reforming Ofcom’s overly burdensome appeals process. Mobile and broadband consumers have suffered far too long delays and businesses have suffered unnecessary regulatory uncertainty. Thus far, with a swath of the country still travelling at a snail’s pace digitally, the system has failed to deliver.”
BT declined to comment.