Feeds

BT watchdog joins BT

Trebles all round

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Sean Williams, a former senior Ofcom regulator who ran the process that created Openreach and stopped short of breaking BT's power over the telecoms industry, has been hired by, er, BT.

The firm announced on Thursday that Williams had been made "Managing Director, Retail Strategy, with responsibility for BT Retail strategy and products, legal and regulatory services".

Sean Williams

Sean Williams, now BT, former OFT communications
markets, former Ofcom

He'll have plenty to chat about with his old pals at Ofcom. BT is lobbying hard to free itself from the universal service obligation, which requires it to connect less profitable remote areas. It's also pushing for greater pricing control over any high speed fibre networks it deploys.

Williams joins BT after a very short stint at the Office of Fair Trading. After stepping down from Ofcom's board at the end of March 2007, he served on the OFT's board and was responsible for "development and enforcement of economic regulation and competition policies in communications markets".

A backside-covering canned quote in BT's press release had Williams' saying: "It's over a year since I was engaged in the communications sector at Ofcom. It is a fascinating, fast moving sector. I am very much looking forward to coming back to it as part of a great business and a great team."

During his multi-year Ofcom tenure, beginning 2003, Williams "was a key architect of the process which led to the BT Undertakings and functional separation", according to the regulator's Chairman David Currie.

The creation of Openreach ("functional separation") is now touted by Ofcom as an example of its own brilliance, especially in light of the failure of some of its European counterparts to loosen the stranglehold of their own incumbents. When UK regulators were pondering how to rein in BT's monopoly in 2004 however, some industry observers called for running of the physical network to be forcibly spun out into a separate public company to ensure fairness ("structural separation").

Ofcom, in the process designed by Williams, declined, to the dismay of many. Ofcom promoted him to its board. Having now hired him to a well-paid executive position, we can assume BT was not too unhappy with his work either.

Viviane Reding, the European Commissioner attempting to shake up telecoms regulation, complained on a visit to London last year that national regulators have a "cosy" relationship with incumbents. We can't imagine what might give her that idea... ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.