October 19, 2016 / 10:15 AM / a year ago

UK minister says 'nothing is off the table' over question of BT-Openreach split

LONDON, Oct 19 (Reuters) - The British government said “nothing is off the table” when asked if breaking up telecoms group BT would help deliver the fibre broadband connections it said the country needs.

Broadband providers including Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone want regulator Ofcom to force BT to spin off its Openreach networks division, saying such a move would encourage more investment and improve service.

BT says it has already delivered one of the best broadband networks in Europe, and it is willing to invest more, including providing more fibre-optic technology.

When asked if BT should be split up, Matt Hancock, Minister for digital policy, said the regulator was looking at the market but “nothing is off the table”.

“My goal is clear: I am focused that we get that (fast fibre-based) connectivity,” he said at the Broadband World Forum in London on Wednesday.

”The route to that connectivity, both in terms of market structure, in terms of technology, in terms of the details along the way are of course very complex.

“(But) I think you can see from what I’ve said today and the measures we are putting through, our absolute determination to get that and we are not going to let anybody get in our way.” (Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Sarah Young)

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