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BT Appoints Clive Selley As Openreach CEO

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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CEO of BT TSO and Group CIO Clive Selley will head up Openreach during Ofcom’s market review

BT Chief Information Officer and current CEO of BT Technology, Service and Operations (BT TSO) has been named as the new CEO of Openreach – the company’s open access network division.

Selley, who has been with BT for more than three decades, replaces Joe Garner, who is leaving to become chief executive of the Nationwide building society.

BT cited Selley’s management and technical experience as reasons for his appointment, specifically referencing his role in the development of the company’s fibre and G.Fast networks and his “extensive knowledge” of regulation.

Openreach CEO

BT TowerThis is no coincidence given that 2016 is set to be a crucial year for Openreach. Ofcom’s once-in-a-decade review of the UK communications will decide whether Openreach should be spun off from BT or whether regulation should be strengthened or relaxed.

Indeed, today is the tenth anniversary of the creation of Openreach, which itself was a product of Ofcom’s last such review.

Most of BT’s rivals want Openreach to be made fully independent and argue the current structure stifles investment in broadband infrastructure and hands BT an unfair advantage. BT rejects these claims and says the model has resulted in increased speeds and intense competition in the UK market.

It claims to have invested £20 billion in its networks over the past decade, half of which has come through Openreach.

“I am honoured to have been asked to lead Openreach at this important point in its history,” said Selley. “The huge investment it has made over the past decade has made the UK a broadband leader, and we need to build on those foundations by deploying fibre to further communities and by rolling out ultrafast broadband. Customer service is a top priority of mine and I am committed to delivering further improvements by working closely with all industry partners who rely on our network to serve their customers.

Ultrafast ambitions

“Openreach is at the heart of the UK economy with our open access network underpinning a ferociously competitive broadband market. That has benefited consumers and businesses greatly.”

Earlier this year, BT outlined plans to rollout up to 500Mbps ‘ultrafast’ broadband to the majority of the population using G.Fast, which boosts speeds on existing copper cables. It has also pledged to support any government move to increase the universal service obligation from 2Mbps to 10Mbps and help fill in notspots using satellite.

However BT CEO Gavin Patterson has previously suggested that these ambitions are reliant on an effective regulatory framework existing after Ofcom’s review. He said today that Selley’s appointment will help achieve these goals.

“Clive is a hugely talented individual and I am delighted he has agreed to lead Openreach, said Patterson. “He has an unrivalled knowledge of networks and engineering and is ideally suited to take the UK from a superfast nation to an ultrafast one. He supports our vision for the UK’s digital future and will play a key role in ensuring that businesses, consumers and communities receive the services they need and deserve.”

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