While the attention of many observers has been grabbed by the Brexit, and now Scottish independence, debate, one thing that has been missed is the continuing argument over BT and its Openreach operation, which provides and maintains all that broadband infrastructure that so many of use use in order to access all those services we take for granted in the modern world - like the Web and social media.
That's what I bladdy think of youse bladdy decision to bladdy allow bladdy BT to keep hold of bladdy Openreach, ya bastard Pommie drongoes!
But one media player is keeping attention and focus on BT, and also maintaining the attack on the provider, and that, to no surprise at all, is the Murdoch mafiosi, who have seized upon the fact that some parts of the UK have slow broadband response to lobby for the Government to forcibly break up an increasingly bold competitor to Sky. BT has parked its tanks on the pay-to-view lawn, outbidding Sky for football rights.
Pay-to-view football, and to an extent other live sport, is what keeps the money flowing in to the operation which the Murdoch family and their hangers-on want to put completely under their control. So in order to fulfil their destiny - and, more importantly, generate More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now - they are bidding for 100% of Sky, while aggressively lobbying to have BT broken up and therefore enfeebled.
The excuse is to join the chorus claiming that Openreach is unfair to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) other than BT, and that splitting it from BT is all about competition. That will generate much hollow laugher among Murdoch watchers: competition is all very well for Don Rupioni and his goons, providing they can have the allegedly level playing field tilted ever so slightly in their favour, something the Murdoch press has been hinting at.
And while the Sun greeted the legal separation of BT and Openreach with the cynical “Loading, please wait ... BT finally splits off Openreach network to improve broadband speeds for users”, the Times went a lot further, declining to wait to see how the new set-up works, and demanding that the Government go further. Because Rupe says so.
In an editorial titled “Not there yet … BT’s legal separation from Openreach is no more than a first stop”, the former paper of record claims that BT “has … been the main obstacle to increasing … investment to the level needed”, and then warns ominously “This is a step in the right direction … but it is unlikely to go far enough … the deal is largely cosmetic … in all important respects BT and Openreach remain joined at the hip”.
And then comes the howler: “BT’s ownership of Openreach is analogous to the idea of Virgin Trains owning Network Rail”. Bullshit. A service company with little in the way of capital and running what is effectively a management contract has Sweet Jack relationship to BT. That is not a serious idea. But the parting shot certainly is: “BT must commit to an all-fibre future, or start planning for a future without Openreach”.
So, Murdoch doggies, how much will your 100% owned Sky invest in this new fibre future? What money will Don Rupioni and his pals put where their mouths are? I mean, this wouldn’t just be another excuse to have the competition in one area hobbled so Sky can screw over its customer base for even more revenue, would it?
Because that Times editorial suggests that is exactly what it is - Rupert Murdoch makes politicians dependent on his patronage, and then come the business demands.