The Countryside Alliance has responded to this morning’s decision by Ofcom to force BT to legally separate from its Openreach decision.

Head of Policy at the Alliance, Sarah Lee, has responded to the decision by calling for greater competition in the delivery of broadband infrastructure. Whilst seeing the potential advantages of BT and Openreach being separated, the Countryside Alliance also strike a note of caution, calling for the Government and the providers of digital infrastructure not to be distracted from the key task of delivering on the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and ensuring that rural communities are not left behind.

Responding to this morning’s decision by Ofcom, Sarah Lee said:

“The Countryside Alliance is pro-competition and believes that end-to-end competition should be maintained where it is effective and sustainable, this must include delivering connectivity to the countryside and those hard to reach areas.

“The proposal to separate BT and Openreach could lead to greater competition, but it is going to take several years to ‘separate’ BT and Openreach, which should not distract us all from the rollout of broadband to those communities which are receiving a poor level of service, who need connectivity now..

“It is vital that at the end of this we end up with a competitive market that delivers the modern digital services and the infrastructure Britain desperately needs. Consumers must be placed at the heart of this process.”