From today (1 October 2018), BT’s Northern Ireland Networks engineering division will be renamed Openreach Northern Ireland. The local fleet of BT vans will gradually be replaced by Openreach branded vehicles and engineers will wear new uniforms and carry Openreach identity cards to introduce themselves to customers.
The engineering division builds and maintains the copper and fibre lines that run from telephone exchanges to the vast majority of local homes and businesses. Most Communications Providers operating in Northern Ireland, including BT, use this open access network to connect Northern Ireland customers to phone, broadband, data and TV services.
The Northern Ireland Networks team already delivers Openreach products and services in Northern Ireland and will continue to focus on providing better, broader and faster connectivity for customers. The use of the Openreach brand, in place of the BT logo, will provide greater clarity for Communications Providers.
The rebranding is in line with voluntary commitments made by BT, following regulator Ofcom’s UK-wide Digital Communications Review in 2017. This builds on changes that the BT Group has already made in Great Britain, including the creation of Openreach Limited with its own independent Board.
Whilst the Northern Ireland Networks team will report into Openreach, it will remain part of BT plc and will maintain its local management team, strategic responsibilities and organisational structure.
Mairead Meyer, Managing Director of the newly-named Openreach Northern Ireland team, said: “This is an exciting and significant day for Northern Ireland Networks and I’ve been talking to my 750-strong team about the great opportunity this gives us.
“The decision to move our reporting line into Openreach is a logical one, and we’ll be working together to achieve our shared vision of driving the country’s digital future. We’re committed to staying at the forefront of broadband innovation and maintaining our strong record for serving customers across Northern Ireland; they will continue to receive the same levels of service.
“Over time our customers will start to see the Openreach brand replace the BT logo on our vehicles and uniforms but our fibre investment and roll-out plans remain unaffected. Superfast broadband coverage in Northern Ireland is over 88% and we’re on track to reach our target of connecting 25% of homes and businesses in Northern Ireland to ultrafast broadband by the end of 2019.”
Over the coming months, Openreach Northern Ireland will run a national campaign, involving outside advertising, to promote the brand change.
There will be no change to how BT’s other business units operate and support their local customers in Northern Ireland, including the Enterprise and Consumer divisions.