Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley is one of the MPs backing a new report urging the regulator to open up the BT/Openreach monopoly and bring fresh competition into broadband. The report from the British Infrastructure Group of MPs (BIG) reveals that there are still a staggering 5.7million people across Britain who cannot access the internet at the Ofcom required 10 Megabits per second, despite £1.7bn of taxpayers’ cash being pumped into subsidising the construction of UK high­speed broadband.

    Peter said: “In Hitchin and Harpenden people are dealing with some really poor connections and gaps in services. In fact Hitchin and Harpenden has below average numbers of superfast connections available. In 2016 people rightly expect access to high­speed internet connections. Whether at home or work, fast broadband should be a reality in all our communities. Sadly, this is not yet the case.”

    He added: “I believe Britain should be leading the world in digital innovation. Yet instead we suffer from having a BT­run monopoly clinging to outdated copper technology with no proper long­term plan for the future. Britain needs to start converting to a largely fibre network so that it is not left behind the other nations who are rushing to embrace the digital future.”

    The report, ‘BroadBad’, calls on the regulator Ofcom to take radical action over the ‘natural monopoly’ too long enjoyed by BT Openreach. The comprehensive report, which details connection speeds in every part of the country, argues that since our modern economy is so reliant on the internet, it is time to stop being held back by BT’s lack of ambition and underinvestment.

    Britain will only be able to lead in digital innovation by taking action to open up the sector. Given all the delays and missed deadlines, only a formal separation of BT from Openreach, combined with fresh competition and a concerted ambition to deliver, will now create the broadband service that our constituents and businesses so rightly demand.