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BT Repay GBP1.2 Million to Fully Unbundled UK ISPs After Mistake

Monday, March 17th, 2014 (1:10 pm) - Score 785

It’s only a drop in the ocean but BT has agreed to repay over £1.2m to fully unbundled (LLU MPF) ISPs and phone line providers, such as Sky Broadband and TalkTalk, after a “mistake” in its response to an earlier Ofcom review of the operators charge controls meant that a key piece of information was left out.

The issue stems from one of Ofcom’s May 2013 information requests, which formed part of the regulators charge control review for BT’s Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) and Wholesale Line Rental (WLR) services (i.e. telephone / broadband lines).

In short, Ofcom requested details of BT’s total quantity of faults, impairments or imperfections for the period of 1st April 2008 – 1st February 2013. But BT ended up only sending data for 26th March 2011 – 15th March 2013 because, according to the telecoms operator, the “data prior to 26 March 2011 was not available in line with BT’s Information Retention Policy.”

However it later became apparent, as part of further proceedings before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), that BT did in fact hold data on fault rates for the relevant pre-March 2011 period. The information was eventually provided on 15th November 2013, following another request from Ofcom. Once received the regulator was able to adjust their charge controls, which resulted in another reduction to the MPF rental of £0.34p.

Ofcom’s Statement

BT has accepted that the information provided to Ofcom on 15 November 2013 should have been provided in response to the 13 May Information Request. BT has explained that its team responding to the 13 May Information Request made a mistake in its approach to responding to Ofcom’s request and that this mistake was not identified at the appropriate time because an independent review of BT’s response did not take place. BT has apologised for this error and for the resulting delay to the correction to the charge controls.

Ofcom states that BT has now agreed to repay, to each of its MPF consumers, the difference between what they have paid and the amount that they would have paid but for BT’s error (total of £1,200,000 in aggregate). The telecoms giant has also given assurances (e.g. oversight from senior management) to Ofcom that the problem will be less likely to occur again in the future.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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