Sky calls for Ofcom inquiry into BT

Sky calls for Ofcom inquiry into BT

Sky has called for a full competition inquiry into BT’s Openreach, citing issues surrounding competition and its quality of service.

In a formal request to Ofcom, the Pay TV company accused rival BT for a series of errors in its Openreach unit, which operates the national broadband network. 

The company claimed there is sufficient evidence against BT for Ofcom to ask the Competition and Markets Authority to conduct a complete competition inquiry.

"We are drawing attention to the problems in broadband because they are important to the economy as a whole," said Mai Fyfield, chief strategy officer at Sky.

"They affect competition between providers and have a direct impact on consumers and small businesses, resulting in inconvenience, dissatisfaction and loss of productivity."

In its submission to the regulator, Sky claimed Openreach misses over 500 appointments every month for installing lines for Sky customers, and that it fails to complete a further 4,000 jobs each month.

In addition it said fault rates across Openreach’s network increased by 50% between 2009 and 2012, adding that the division’s performance in fixing faults is consistently below the targets set out in agreements with service providers.

The company also said BT has not invested enough in Openreach and the unit should therefore be split from BT.

In response, BT said: “The forthcoming Ofcom review is an important piece of work so it is disappointing that Sky are engaging in selective spin rather than constructive dialogue.”

“They claim that Openreach investment is down yet it is up. They can only substantiate their claim by ignoring the billions of pounds we have pumped into fibre broadband. They also make claims about customer service whilst failing to acknowledge that Openreach has passed all sixty of the service targets it was set by Ofcom."

The incumbent operator acknowledged there is more to do on customer service but said that breaking up BT is not the answer as doing so would lead to uncertainty and undermine the case for future investment.

Rivals Sky and TalkTalk have long urged for BT to be split from Openreach, claiming that the company is using its control over the national network to unfairly benefit its own consumer operations.