Ofcom to fine BT £42m for underpaying compensation to telecoms providers

BT in serious breach of Ofcom’s rules, for reducing payments to telecoms providers following delays in connecting high speed business lines.

Openreach Fibre Broadband Installations - MF Communications

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

UK businesses and consumers rely on high quality, high-speed, broadband services every day. Fulfilling high speed business lines, or Ethernet services are important for underpinning the UK’s communications infrastructure.

Ofcom’s investigation into Openreach found that between January 2013 and December 2014, BT misused the terms of its contracts to reduce compensation payments owed to other telecoms providers for failing to deliver its Ethernet services on time.

Also known as ‘leased lines’, these dedicated, high-speed cables are used by large businesses and mobile and broadband providers to transmit data. They also provide vital, high-capacity links for hospitals, schools and libraries.

Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s Investigations Director, said:

“We found BT broke our rules by failing to pay other telecoms companies proper compensation when these services were not provided on time. The size of our fine reflects how important these rules are to protect competition and, ultimately, consumers and businesses. Our message is clear – we will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.”

Most telecoms companies rely on access to BT’s network to provide services such as broadband to their customers. Ofcom’s rules are there to ensure BT does not act in a way that could harm competition and, ultimately, consumers and businesses.

Under these rules, BT is obliged to install Ethernet services to its wholesale customers (including Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk), paying out compensation upon late delivery – anything over 30 working days. Ofcom found that BT reduced the level of compensation it owed to telecoms providers by retrospectively assuming the customer had agreed to an extension, even when they hadn’t.

This investigation followed accusations by Vodafone in 2015 alleging BT had misused its contractual terms regarding the late delivery of Ethernet services without Vodafone’s consent. For failing to provide accurate and complete information regarding this, BT also faces an additional £300K fine.

BT has admitted its failings and now has twelve months to compensate all the telecoms providers who faced financial loss because of its conduct.

Broadband and data line solutions from Office Phone Shop.

Leased lines connect two ports via dedicated fibre optic cables, without the need for a telephone number.
They provide a simple, reliable and secure solution for internet VPN, private networks or for connecting two geographically separate areas. They can be used as a direct connection to the internet and will act as a dedicated connection with no shared bandwidth.

Why have leased lines for your business?

  • Internet access is critical to your business
  • You need constant high capacity internet access or a managed IP VPN
  • You require good control over your network traffic and performance planning
  • You would like to benefit from cheaper business calls using VoIP service telephony
  • You get a fixed service level agreement (SLA)

For superfast business broadband and a business standard service level agreement (SLA), contact Office Phone Shop today. We assure a high level of service and attention to detail, delivering a secure and reliable internet service for your business.

For more information call 0800 012 6637 and speak to one of our UK Business Managers.