Graham Stuart, Member of Parliament for Beverley and Holderness, has joined the campaign to break up BT, by separating the publically subsidised infrastructure wing Openreach from the rest of the company. He joined over a hundred MPs in signing a letter to the Telegraph endorsing a recent British Infrastructure Group (BIG) report criticising the performance of BT Openreach.
The report finds that Openreach has so far received £1.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies to connect harder to reach areas of the UK to superfast broadband, but has repeatedly failed to deliver. Around 5.7 million people in the UK have internet connections that do not reach Ofcom’s ‘acceptable’ minimum speed of 10Mbps, of whom 3.5 million live in rural areas like Beverley and Holderness. 42% of SMEs report experiencing problems with their internet connectivity, costing the UK economy up to £11 billion per year.
Separate figures from Sky also reveal that in the last year 400 Sky Broadband customers in Beverley and Holderness relying on BT Openreach exchanges reported a fault. They also show that 88% of customers in the constituency had to wait more than 9 days for a new line when switching their broadband provider to Sky.
Graham said: “The performance of Openreach just isn’t good enough. It’s letting down local residents. BT have an outdated monopoly which is holding back investment in broadband. I’ve campaigned for better broadband for our area for years. Broadband isn’t a luxury for people anymore. Whether it’s in our home lives or our work, it’s an essential utility. Progress has been made, but it’s not quick enough for many, particularly those in rural areas. Over the past year, I’ve met representatives from many of the major broadband providers, including BT, to challenge them to deliver a better service to my constituents. I’m delighted to have joined over a hundred MPs in calling for BT to be separated from Openreach. This will open up the broadband market to greater competition, creating fresh incentives for companies to invest in the future.”