Why does Openreach not exist in Northern Ireland?

telephone engineerFollowing Ofcom's Strategic Review of Telecoms (2005), BT agreed to a series of ‘Undertakings’ designed to allow competitors to offer products and services to their customers over BT’s local access network – the wires and fibres that connect homes and businesses to local telephone exchanges.

Part of the Undertakings involved a structural change to the BT Group which established Openreach as a separate business within BT to manage the local access network across the UK.

However, owing to the relatively small size of BT’s business in Northern Ireland the structural change was not introduced in Northern Ireland and as a result Openreach does not have an operational presence in Northern Ireland. 

Instead, BT Ireland operates and maintains the Northern Ireland network on behalf of BT Group. 

All other elements of the Undertakings, however, apply in Northern Ireland.