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Thursday 25 February 2016

Grant Shapps Fails To Split BT

As part of his hoped-for journey back from the political wilderness, former Tory Party co-chairman Grant “Spiv” Shapps has been genuflecting in the direction of the Murdoch empire and calling for BT - which just happens to be the most serious competitor to Sky in the pay-TV market - to be broken up. He has been particularly keen to see the company split from its Openreach broadband division.
In this endeavour, Shapps has enlisted the help of the Telegraph, now so desperate for cheap copy that it is prepared to effectively go in to bat for Creepy Uncle Rupe and his motley band of Mafiosi. And with Ofcom reporting today, the Tel put it on the front page: “BT ordered to improve broadband speeds”. Sadly for both Shapps and the Tel, this has not happened and the online version of that article is proving elusive.

Nor has Ofcom done as “Spiv” wanted, and ordered the break-up of BT. As the BBC has reported, “Communications regulator, Ofcom has told BT to open up its cable network, allowing competitors to connect the internet to homes and offices”. And BT’s response? “BT welcomed the report and said it was happy to let other companies use its network, if they were keen to invest”. But none of those competitors have so far come forward.
Moreover, while Ofcom “says Openreach should be governed at arm's length from BT, with greater independence in taking its own decisions on budget, investment and strategy. It adds that a complete split between Openreach and BT ‘remains an option’”, the Beeb’s report also points out what has just happened is a “once-a-decade review of the digital communications industry”. So the Murdoch doggies are likely to be disappointed.

Spiv” Shapps is putting a brave face on the result, telling “.@Ofcom tells BT to open up cable network, but British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) doubtful this'll be enough”. He knows damn well that the BIG will pass adverse comment on the report, because he will represent them - it’s his group, essentially - and he will write the conclusion.
And we know the kind of hyperbole that will feature in that conclusion, after Shapps pontificated “More of a scandal than VW emissions or ppi, almost no-one is getting the broadband speed they pay for”. Yes, in Shapps world, the laws of physics can be magically overcome. BT Openreach is reducing the numbers with slow connections, while rolling out fibre connections across the country. But this process cannot be completed instantaneously. There is a planned rollout; it is a work in progress.

Of course, Shapps knows this. He also knows that the press is sufficiently technically illiterate - as well as desperate for cheap stories - that it will print his claims unchecked and unchallenged. BT has not been broken up, and will not be broken up, if it ever happens, for several years to come. Grant Shapps’ latest self-promotion wheeze has failed.

Still, at least it wasn’t like that Traffic Paymaster - which verged on the illegal. And both Michael Green and Sebastian Fox will back him up. Back in your box, “Spiv”.


Anonymous said...

At the root of this is the neocon bullshit about "competition" and "entrepreneurs."

70 years ago Bertrand Russell pointed out obvious hypocrisy coming from the bought-and-paid-for Shapps gang mentality. That is, the point of capitalist "competition" is to eliminate competitors so profits can be maximised unopposed. For examples of which see Britain's wretched privatised train "services" and the virtual elimination of social housing.

Until this country regains some semblance of common decency in its zeitgeist we'll continue to be a Yankified barrow boy society. A nation subverted by the cancerous greed promoted by no-marks like Shapps and his paymasters Murdoch and Rothermere.

Meanwhile, don't hold your breath waiting for mainstream media journalists and presenters to discuss and explore alternatives in any depth. The gutless bastards are too busy selling out to the nearest "competitor" employer.

Anonymous said...

Yes, in Shapps world, the laws of physics can be magically overcome. BT Openreach is reducing the numbers with slow connections, while rolling out fibre connections across the country."

None of us like GS but to pretend that this is some sort of victory is wrong, BT has been terrible rolling fast, no, usable BB out - just ask any local BB action group, they'll tell you that open reach do nothing for ages, pretend they are about to do something to keep the competition away and then, if a competitor does something suddenly swing into action, action that suddenly stops when the competition gives up.

Their database is full of holes and error - some areas of Milton Keynes have fibre for some time, however, many houses in these streets due to the DB are down as not being able to receive fibre, BT/OR swear their DB is right, the neighbors points towards next door having it, the councilers and MP's get involved and the whole thing goes round again.

It's taken 3-4 years to get this right for some areas in MK but others still suffer from this issue.
BT also own but only lease out the MK cable system therefore it's been run into the ground and competition stiffled there, they should be compelled to sell this off so Virgin or a local start up can give it a go.

Frankly, the roll out is at a glaciar pace and BT have long pocketed BDUK money to pay for the upgrades they should have paid out for years ago, we're subsidising their infrastructure upgrades.

Sorry but this little near monopoly should have been smashed years ago and a national fibre network installed to all houses - it's way, way too important to leave to an entity as BT that will wring every last drop out of their copper before moving forward.

Anonymous said...

What is with all of the paranoia about BT?
Does somebody see it as a rival threat?

Stephen said...

BT would have had Fibre all over the country nearly 30 years ago, but someone stopped them because of competition.

rob said...

@ Stephen

Something to do with competing with unsightly satellite dishes perchance?