TalkTalk asks regulators for 'level playing field'

TalkTalk logo Image copyright TalkTalk

Broadband provider TalkTalk wants more competition and a "level playing field" in the UK's internet services industry, says its chief executive.

Dido Harding said: "We are looking to various competition authorities reviewing the BT/ EE merger, the Three/O2 merger and the whole industry.

"I do think there need to be more players on the market."

TalkTalk reported a 3.2% rise in pre-tax profit to £32m for the year to the end of March.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Harding added: "I've been very public in saying that Openreach should be separated out of BT Group.

"I think that would drive better investment, a more level playing field... I do think there need to be more players on the market and the regulators need to make sure that's the case."

Increased profit

TalkTalk's annual revenue rose 3.9% to nearly £1.8bn, leading the company to raise its revenue growth target for 2017 to 5%.

Tax credits associated with losses from the previous year pushed its post-tax profit to £72m.

However, the company also said data downloading on its network had doubled in the last year, raising its costs.

Ms Harding said: "People are downloading 40% to 50% more data on our network than they were a year ago, so from time to time we do need to put our prices up."

Image caption TalkTalk is testing high-speed fibre-optic internet cables in the north of England

'Like electricity'

The company is testing new high-speed internet cables in York, said Ms Harding.

"I want to live in a country where in a decade's time, we all have unlimited broadband coming into our homes - where broadband becomes like electricity."

Responding to the company's bad reputation in customer services, Ms Harding said: "Ofcom published nine months worth of customer services results where for the first time ever, TalkTalk was not the most complained about in any of the products we sell.

"It's not the end of the journey and there's lots more we can do, but we're getting there."

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