Ahead of Openreach’s publication of its fibre rollout consultation, Clive Selley featured in a Daily Telegraph interview as part of an apparent attempt to raise his profile as a key figurehead for a more independent access services business.

  • Openreach attempting to reset relations with the industry.
  • Selley mildly critical of BT apathy on full fibre.
  • Veteran engineer wary of attempts to change pension conditions for long-serving staff.
  • Ltd or plc — private or public limited company?

With Ofcom appearing keen to see public signs of Openreach making an effort to meet the spirit of the terms of the new regulatory settlement, Chief Executive Clive Selley spoke to the Daily Telegraph about the division’s hopes for working with the wider industry more closely, and the importance of creating a new culture within Openreach as it heads towards becoming a legally separate company.

One of the key elements of the new Openreach entails active consultation with its external customer base. Selley positioned the consultation process – previously announced by BT, and detailed in the wake of the interview (BTwatch, #276 and see separate report) – as an important part of understanding how an investment in fibre can be made economically viable.

The kind of question we’re asking [communications providers] is ‘at what rate do you think your customers would adopt ultra-fast speeds?’. I’m often asked whether it is hard to get the money. That misses the point. The point is creating the business case. For full fibre, that is fairly challenging because it is expensive to deploy and takes a long time to deploy. ” – Selley.

  • Ltd or plc? While early documents from BT and Ofcom indicated a new independent Openreach would be a simple limited company (‘Ltd’), in his interview with TheTelegraph Selley talked of “Openreach Plc”, perhaps suggesting a public limited company (‘plc’) set-up may be favoured by the Group. Selley might just have been using the nomenclature as slang, but the distinction could matter in terms of reporting, transparency, oversight and flexibility.

Selley asserts independence with challenge to established thinking

Much of the interview was by-the-book PR on the access services division’s enthusiasm for all its customers. However, Selley did provide an interesting comment on the need to change attitudes within BT on infrastructure evolution, which suggested that the new Openreach may actively seek a set of circumstances where more can be done to bring end-to-end fibre to the market.

According to Selley, BT Group had “talked itself into the idea that fibre is incredibly expensive and will take forever”, and he may be leading a change in the telco’s creed. Selley also noted progress on pricing for fibre rollout is improving significantly.

We’ve probably halved the cost in this last year. It is still probably a bit too pricey. We’ve got more to do.” – Selley.

Selley on the BT pension

Having come up through the ranks of BT, Selley also commented on the state of the Group pension, from the perspective of its members, rather than management.

While the switch for long-serving engineers from being employed by BT Group to Openreach Ltd is not expected to change pension terms, mooted plans for limiting final salary elements of the scheme for existing members is causing disquiet (BTwatch, #286). The issue is particularly relevant to Openreach, with many of its engineering staff long-serving members of the final salary scheme, which closed to new members more than 15 years ago.

I think we have to take our people along with us. I think they’re necessarily a little worried by the transition from BT Group to Openreach plc, and need some assurances around the pension. Our aim is to deliver on those asks. They’re fundamental for me. Those people joined with a set of terms and conditions. That’s why they joined, and part of the reason why they stayed and do a good job for Openreach and customers around the UK. I think you just have to respect that. ” – Selley.

Image: © Bloomberg.

Table of Contents

3 Executive brief

5 Group

Associations
AGM
6 “Humbled” BT survives AGM relatively unscathed
Ofcom Winter 2017 spectrum auction
Regulatory
7 Ofcom unveils updated 5G auction plans
7 Table 1 Current UK total mobile spectrum holdings
Management update
8 McKinsey overseeing latest BT restructure plan
Pension
8 Lowth pondering BG trick to curb pension crisis
8 Ofcom takes gradual approach to curbing spectrum dominance
8 Regulator warns on slower pace for future auctions
Q1 FY17-18 results
9 Q1: body-slammed again, regrouping
9 All over by Christmas, unless Three opens new front
9 BT rises above hoarding allegations to act for good of the nation…

11 Consumer

Competitors
12 Sky and Virgin Media pull ahead of YouView on targeted ads
12 BT completes rugby takeover
Plusnet
13 BT props up its live offering
13 Rugby on the up as pricy soccer stutters
13 BT’s international hockey rights expanded

15 EE

Restructuring
16 Confirmed: Allera to lead merged Consumer-EE from September
Products and services
16 EE expands Apple Music offer with zero-rating play
16 EE breaks with BT strategy on ensnaring customers in contract extensions
Net neutrality
17 Zero rating in the UK
17 EE and rivals playing in net neutrality grey area
17 Zero-rating to lure users into bigger data bundles
18 No just EE testing the limits…
18 EE to zero-rate BT Sport next?
Networks
19 Allera on planning challenges
Networks
19 EE scores 750Mbps at Wembley; Qualcomm, Sony assist
20 Table 2 You say you want an evolution: picking up speed from Cat-4 through to Cat-16
20 Playing away from Wembley is more difficult
Retail
21 EE to expand retail presence through J Sainsbury link-up
21 EE to mobilise it retail workforce; pop-ups
21 Sainsbury relationship follows earlier Argos links
22 Pimped-up stores to trade on tech razzamatazz
22 Keeping BT at a distance?
Suppliers
22 VoltServer supporting safe electricity for balloon masts

24 Business and Public Sector

Channel
25 BT reboots Business Partner Channel
25 One-stop partner shop
25 Business time
Products and services
Health sector
26 BT signs new five-year deal with Surrey CCG
26 BT’s health services unit reinvigorated by injection of new blood
Products and services
27 BT trumpets air power

28 Global Services

BT Italia
Legal and regulatory
Security
29 BT goes on security offensive
Security
30 RedShield added to BT’s security portfolio
30 Good neighbours make good (cyber) fences
30 White paper sets out blueprint for corporate response to cyber threats
30 Virtually secure

32 Openreach

DCR
33 Ofcom launches new Openreach compliance squad
33 Unit to work collaboratively, carry a structural separation stick
Management update
34 Openreach calls for inputs on FTTP future
34 Three-year timeframe for changes to have consequences
34 BT wary of responsibility for market transformation
Management update
36 Progress being made on conditions for new Commitments to come into force
Management update
36 New look Openreach to reflect new world order
Trials and pilots
37 Openreach updates at ISP Forum event
37 Selley goes on media charm offensive
Trials and pilots
38 G.INP trials on ECI cabinets to resume
38 Selley asserts independence with challenge to established thinking
38 Selley on the BT pension
G.fast
39 New G.fast council certifies first products
39 BT partners – and some new names — secure certification
Trials and pilots
Regulatory
40 Ofcom’s dark fibre access derailed
40 Table 3 G.fast-certified customer premises equipment and distribution point units
Regulatory
41 Poacher-in-chief: Ofwat’s Ross to replace Ofcom’s Williams
41 NetComm Wireless linked with BT FTTdp work
41 Fight the power

43 Further reading

46 Index

Index

Symbols

21st Century Fox
Sky
– Sky Sports 12, 13
– – A
Adobe Systems, Inc. 6
ADTRAN 41
Apple 7, 16, 17, 22
Apple Music 16, 17
– iPhone 7
– Arbor Networks 30
Aviva 12, 13

B

BG Group 8
Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication (BEREC) 17
Broadband Forum 39, 40, 45
Gfast Council 39, 40, 45
– Broadcom 40
BT Group 6, 8, 29, 36, 38, 39, 40
BT Business & Public Sector 8, 25, 26, 27, 33
– BT Local Business 25
– – BT Northern Ireland 33
– – BT Consumer 8, 12, 13, 18, 22
– BT Commitment 36
– – BT Infinity 27
– – BT TV 12, 18
– – Plusnet 13, 40
– – BT Global Services 8, 28, 29
– BT Americas 30
– – BT Italia 6, 29
– – BT Security 29, 30
– – BT Pension Scheme 36
– Crown Guarantee 36
– – BT Technology, Service and Operations 8
– Business and Public Sector
– BT Air Logistics 27
– – Directors
– Rake, Sir Michael 6
– – Rose, Nick 6
– – EE 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25
– Executives
– Allera, Marc 8, 9, 19
– – Brandt, Etienne 21
– – Foster, Kevin 39
– – Hall, Jason 26
– – Hughes, Mark 29
– – Lowth, Simon 8
– – O’Neill, Colm 27
– – Patterson, Gavin 6
– – Rathborne, Steve 25
– – Selley, Clive 34, 37, 38
– – Openreach 6, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41
– C
Cabinet Office (UK)
Public Sector Network 26
– Calix 40
Cisco Systems, Inc. 6, 30
CK Hutchison 7, 9
Three Group
– Three UK 7, 9, 17
– – Cloud Industry Forum 6

D

Deezer 17
Dell 6
Deloitte 6
Deutsche Telekom 29, 30
T-Systems 6
– Digital Economy Act (UK) 36

E

ECI 38
Electronic Communications Code 19
European Professional Club Rugby 12
European Rugby Cup
Heineken Cup 13
– European Union 16, 17
Experian 6

F

Fédération Int. de Football Assoc. (FIFA)
World Cup 13
– Football Association
Premier League 13
– G
General Electric Co. (GE)
NBC Universal
– National Broadcasting Company (NBC) 12
– – Google 22

H

Heineken Holding 13
HM Revenue & Customs 27
HTC 7
Huawei Technologies 30, 37, 38, 40

I

Intel
Intel Security 30
– International Hockey Federation 13

J

Juniper Networks 30

K

KPMG 6, 29, 30

L

Liberty Global 12
Virgin Media 12, 16
– M
Mainline Communications 25
McKinsey & Company 8
Metanoia Communications 40
Microsoft 6
MTV 12

N

National Health Service (NHS, UK) 26
N3 26
– NetComm Wireless 41
Netflix 17
Nokia 40
NTT 29

O

Ofcom 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 33, 34, 36, 37, 38
Strategic Review of the Telecoms Sector 33
– Orange 30

P

Pace Micro Technology 40
PricewaterhouseCoopers 6, 29
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board 29
Public Sector Network 26

S

Sainsbury, J 21
Argos 21
– Samsung 7, 22
Sckipio 40
SoundCloud 17
Strategic Review of the Digital Communications Market 33
Surrey County Council 26
Swisscom 40
Symantec 30

T

Technicolor 40
Technology
ADSL 13
– Broadband 9, 13, 17, 25, 27, 34, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 45
– Ethernet 40
– Fibre 13, 22, 34, 37, 38, 40, 41
– Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) 40
– – Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) 34
– G.fast 34, 39, 40, 41
– IPTV 40
– MPLS 26
– VDSL 37, 41
– VoD 12
– Telefónica 7, 16
O2 UK 9, 16
– TVPlayer 17

V

Viacom 12
Channel 5 12
– VMware 6
Vodafone 7, 9
UK 9
– VoltServer 22, 41

Y

YouView 12

Z

Zscaler 30

About

About BTwatch

Report: #288
Covering: July 2017
Published: July 2017
Next report: September 2017
For more information visit: BTwatch