BT’s CEO Ian Livingston has blasted critics of his company’s fibre broadband roll-out, such as TalkTalk chairman Sir Charles Dunstone, describing them as “copper luddites” with a vested interest in preventing UK homes from getting access to fibre through BT Openreach.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Livingston rejected recent claims by the TalkTalk chairman that Openreach is building a powerful monopoly using state funds, adding: “They are not prepared to invest in fibre. It’s a shame they want to hobble the UK economy for their own commercial reasons.”
BT has committed itself to spending £2.5bn ($3.8bn) on connecting two-thirds of British homes and businesses to super-fast broadband networks (mostly fibre-to-the-cabinet), and hopes that the UK government will help meet the cost of connecting the final third, mostly found in rural areas.
BT has been careful to group its fibre rollout activities under the Openreach brand, which provides wholesale access to the network on the same terms and prices as those given to BT Retail. Livingston added: “BT fibre is open to any provider in the UK on the same terms as BT – there are 50 or 60 of them, that’s not what I call a monopoly.”