BT share price: Ex-minister calls for Openreach split

on Aug 11, 2016
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

Telecoms giant BT Group (LON:BT.A) should be split up, former business minister Anna Soubry has told the BBC. The comments come after the blue-chip telco recently avoided being broken up, as industry watchdog Ofcom ordered the company to give more independence to its network division Openreach within the group.

BT’s share price has fallen deep into the red in today’s session, with the group’s shares trading without the attraction of their latest dividend. As of 10:25 BST, the shares were changing hands 1.78 percent lower at 391.70p, as compared with a 0.37-percent dip in the benchmark FTSE 100 index. The telco’s shares have lost nearly 16 percent of their value over the past year.
Former business minister Anna Soubry, who was in David Cameron’s government until he left office, told the BBC’s Today programme that BT’s network unit Openreach should become a separate company, with the former telecoms monopoly having “had enough second chances to improve broadband”.

“Radical action needs to be taken so that we have superfast broadband across the UK,” she pointed out. Her comments come after Ofcom ordered the former telecoms monopoly to give more independence to its Openreach last month, stopping short of recommending a full-blown break-up.
“I was very surprised that was pulled back on,” Soubry told the BBC. “I’m sorry, but they have not delivered.”
Soubry further questioned BT’s claim that 90 percent of properties have access to superfast broadband, saying that she seemed “to meet every member of the 10 percent”.
The BBC also quoted Kim Mears, the managing director of infrastructure at BT Openreach, as insisting that “over 91 percent of the UK have access to superfast speeds”.
The FTSE 100 group said last month that it had volunteered governance changes to increase Openreach’s independence and transparency. Ofcom meanwhile has launched a short consultation, running until October 4, to get the opinions of those in the sector.
As of 10:47 BST, Thursday, 11 August, BT Group plc share price is 391.75p.

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