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Ofcom Investigates Vodafone UK Complaint of BT Ethernet Delays

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 (11:22 am) - Score 1,353

The national telecoms regulator has opened a new investigation after Vodafone complained that BTOpenreach failed to meet its obligations to them by both “delaying provision” of its Ethernet (high-capacity data line) services without their consent and then “failing to compensate” for that delay.

Ofcom’s rules impose an obligation upon BT to provide its services “as soon as reasonably practicable and on fair and reasonable terms” and to publish and adhere to reference offers for the provision of Ethernet Services. But Vodafone suggests that Openreach has been using the Deemed Consent mechanism in its contracts (clause 2.3) to “inappropriately” delay service provision.

The relevant consent clause exists to cover a variety of factors that could cause delays, such as when Openreach needs to deal with damage to its infrastructure, clear blocked cable ducts, tackle asbestos, gain specific approves for street works or a variety of other issues.

Ofcoms Statement

This dispute concerns allegations by Vodafone that, in the period from 1st September 2012 to 31st January 2014, BT has inappropriately used the Deemed Consent Mechanism in the relevant CSAs. Vodafone alleges that this has resulted in Openreach failing to meet its service level agreements on multiple occasions, by delaying provision of its Ethernet Services without Vodafone’s consent, and by failing to compensate Vodafone for these delays in accordance with the CSA.

Ofcom recognises that, on the face of the referral, there appears to be a dispute between the parties that commercial negotiations have failed to resolve.

No examples of how Openreach might have made inappropriate use of this clause are offered, although Ofcom will continue collecting evidence on the matter until 23rd September 2015 and we’ll probably learn more in a few months’ time, assuming the regulator finds enough grounds to take action.

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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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1 Response
  1. “…to 31st January 2014”

    I can assure you that Openreach are still up to these dirty tricks.

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