Broadband minister slams BT Openreach service quality

10 March 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe


The UK’s digital economy minister, Ed Vaizey MP, has slammed BT Openreach’s customer service as “woeful”.

Openreach logoVaizey, made the comments at a government debate yesterday, which was centered on “BT’s inability to deliver its service obligations to its customers”, Caroline Nokes MP, who led the debate, said.

“I’m completely at the end of my tether, I agree with all the complaints made by all my colleagues in this debate, and I’m going to make sure there is action. I hope that if we debate this subject again in a year’s time we will have seen some action. Members may see a different Minister if I do not succeed, but we will do our best to make some progress,” said Vaizey yesterday.

“I should say, though, that I have no truck with Openreach and its customer service levels.”

Despite Vaizey, who helps to oversee the government’s Broadband Delivery UK project, finding time yesterday to praise the progress of BT Openreach’s fibre broadband, he firmly put his constituency hat on to criticise the operator for slow repairs and lack of capacity provision for some new phone and FTTC/P connections.

A number of MPs offered constituent evidence of BT Openreach and general telecommunication service and the minister separately called on ISPs across the UK to stop advertising line rental with a separate price and called for clearer broadband speeds.

The sentiments come after Ofcom published its strategic review of UK digital communications late last month. As a result of the watchdog’s report, BT has been told that it must give its competitors full network access to its underground ducts and telegraph poles.

Automatic compensation was also highlighted in the report, with Vaizey adding on Wednesday that “at the moment I understand we won’t need legislation” to fully implement these changes.