Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/09/22/bt_behaviour/

BT workers must change behaviour, says boss

For the sake of Openretch

By Tim Richardson

Posted in Broadband, 22nd September 2005 14:19 GMT

BT chief Ben Verwaayen has told staff that today's deal agreed with Ofcom is "historic [and the] biggest change since BT was privatised more than twenty years ago".

In an email to staff seen by The Reg Verwaayen said the deal would allow companies to "concentrate on winning and serving customers, rather than arguing about regulation".

Announcing the creation of the new access services business "Openreach", Verwaayen called on workers to live by the new rules as set out by Ofcom.

Sharing information between the different parts of BT is a real no-no and all workers can expect to have to abide by a new code of conduct.

Speaking about BT Oftenwretched [cheers for that one, Paul] Verwaayen wrote: "Treating all communications providers in an equal and fair way also requires that we set up two separate product teams in BT Wholesale to manage products where we have a dominant position.

"To deliver this level of transparency, we must get our behaviour right too.

"This means taking great care about the way we use information to avoid giving preferential treatment to our own businesses. Certain commercial information can only be disclosed to other parts of BT if it is also being shared - at the same time and in the same way - with other communications providers.

"And, we will not share any customer's confidential information without consent."

Despite BT's insistence that it's turning over a new leaf, competitors remain cautious.

John Pluthero, chief exec of alternative telco Energis and someone who called for the break-up of BT, reckons today's announcement is a "good start point". At the moment, though, it's just words and promises without anything concrete to back up today's new deal.

"The watchwords now are promise for promise and action for action," he said. "Ofcom must hold its nerve and continue to insist that BT delivers on promises before giving it its head in retail markets." ®