BT and Openreach have been ordered to separate in order to increase competition in the UK’s broadband sector

BT has completed the transfer of 31,000 members of staff to its network subsidiary Openreach, marking a major milestone in the companies’ bid to separate themselves. 

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, had ruled that BT must legally separate itself from Openreach, in an attempt to speed up the rollout of full fibre, gigabit capable broadband networks across the country. 

"This is an important day for Openreach as we’re fulfilling our commitment to Ofcom under the Digital Communication Review," said Mike McTighe, chairman of Openreach. 

"Openreach now has its own board, greater strategic and operational independence, a separate brand and an independent workforce – and we’re ambitious about the future."

The UK government has said that it needs 15 million fibre to the home (FTTH) connections across the country by 2025 in order to kickstart the evolution of the country’s digital economy.

Openreach has already committed to deliver 3 million FTTH connections by 2020 and has stated that it would like to do provide as many as 10 million by 2025 – providing that econommic conditions are right. 

In July this year, Ofcom said that BT and Openreach were making good progress in their efforts to separate. However,, it also voiced concerns that BT was still too involved in Openreach’s long term strategic planning. The official transfer of the 31,000 staff will go some way to allay these fears.