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BT and Openreach are to become legally separate businesses, here is a guide to how we will work with parliamentarians in the future

In March this year, BT and Ofcom reached an agreement under which Openreach is becoming a legally separate company, with its own board, within the BT Group. This agreement is based upon voluntary commitments that BT made to the regulator. We wrote to MPs in September about this but thought it would useful to remind you what the key changes look like.

The agreement requires that:

  • Openreach becomes a new company within the BT Group, legally incorporated as Openreach Limited
  • around 32,000 employees transfer to the newly independent Openreach Limited (following TUPE consultation, and once pension arrangements are in place)
  • Openreach Limited has its own branding, which does not feature the BT logo
  • Openreach plans are subject to a new industry consultation process
  • a new Openreach board with an independent chair and non-executive directors sets strategy, budget and plan
  • the Openreach CEO reports to the Openreach chair.  

The work to complete all these changes is already well under way – as we hope you will have noticed by now.

Another key element of the move to further independence is that Openreach will now engage directly with MPs, Peers and parliamentary colleagues. This includes questions about Openreach’s strategy, industry engagement (including with communication providers) or policy issues relating to Openreach including:

  • fixed-network delivery (including fibre, BDUK contracts and the Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) Programme)
  • policy issues such as connecting new builds to phone and internet services or regarding street furniture (cabinets and poles)
  • community-wide service issues, eg, where there is a service outage in a local community or where communities have concerns about coverage locally
  • collaboration and consultation with communications providers on Openreach strategy and industry engagement.  

For all of the above Openreach policy issues contact public.affairs@openreach.co.uk. Head of external affairs & policy at Openreach, Michael Salter-Church (020 7322 4015), and external affairs manager, Denise Westbury-Haines (020 7809 7389), will respond to all enquiries.

Please continue to contact the BT Group Public Affairs team on all other issues. These include BT’s overall strategy, such as fixed and mobile network investment, our role as a major UK employer, business and consumer internet services (including EE, BT TV and BT Sport), BT security, our work on digital skills and inclusion, BT’s R&D or any issue about our global operations across 180 countries.

If you have an interest or query on any of these issues, please contact either Alex Towers (020 7356 6593 or alex.towers@bt.com) or Clova Fyfe (020 7356 5352 or clova.fyfe@bt.com).