Brokenreach and Spooks – again

Posted by Voipfone on December 5, 2016

Brokenreach and Spooks - againSome things go on for so long that even if you once had an interest, it’s long since evaporated. This is, of course, the bureaucrat’s best weapon, well exercised over the snooper’s charter – they just wore everyone down, waited for political change, bored us into submission and this week finally got what they wanted when the Investigatory Powers Bill was written into UK law. So now every UK citizen’s – sorry, subject’s – browsing history can be bulk collected by dozens of agencies for 12 months.

MIRANDA: O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t!

PROSPERO: ‘Tis new to thee.

In contrast, Openreach’s split from BT was mooted by Ofcom only relatively recently. They have been discussing how separation can be achieved with BT and the industry for only a few months but has now lost patience. Ofcom are going to the European Commission to get the legal separation against BT’s proposed alternative. This will create a separate legal entity with its own management and board for Openreach but it would still fall within BT Group.

Most of the industry wanted full structural separation – a truly independent company not reliant on, or accountable to, BT in any way. ITSPA went the other way – full separation is too difficult and long winded a job, best to try a quicker solution first. If that doesn’t work, full separation comes next.

Most think that Ofcom went this way because of the political difficulty in separating the BT pension scheme out – it’s £13bn in the red and the biggest private sector pension fund in the UK – all too close to BHS pension disaster for comfort.

Personally, I don’t think either solution will make much difference. Openreach is a huge, messy, expensive, people heavy business that’s always going to be a pain to organise efficiently whichever way you place the deckchairs. ‘Tis only new to thee.

But whatever you do, don’t you mess with my pension…

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