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Ofcom Disappointed by Breach in BT’s Regulatory Undertakings

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 (9:21 am) - Score 1,089
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Ofcom are “disappointed” after a screw-up forced BT to request the temporary use of shared computer systems across their divisions with BTOpenreach, which is a breach of the 2005 Undertakings and their commitment to “functional separation” of systems and processes.

The issue was created after BT made a formal request to Ofcom for it to “temporarily” be allowed to use their wider BT Enterprise Cloud (BTEC) system to also manage five Operational Support Systems (OSS) at Openreach (BTEC is shared with other divisions of BT). But there’s a twist.

Apparently the current Openreach OSS are stuck on legacy hardware and software platforms, while the enhanced replacements for these have, in BT’s words, “been erroneously developed to be run live on an existing computing platform called [BTEC] which is shared across the whole of BT“. Oops. The mistake itself was spotted in January 2015.

Some of the OSS involved include Openreach’s new ‘View My Engineer’ service and the Fault Management system for Openreach’s Next Generation Access (NGA) broadband products (e.g. FTTC and FTTP). The operator has thus asked Ofcom if these OSS “can be launched on BTEC to avoid delivery slippage or production continuity issues“, at least until they can be migrated to dedicated Openreach-only hardware when it becomes available by 31st December 2015.

Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s Group Director of Competition, said:

There are five Openreach systems that are live on the BTEC and currently in breach of the Undertakings. We note that BT self-reported these breaches and that the EAB has investigated and confirmed BT to be in breach. We take these breaches very seriously and consider it important that BT commits to appropriate remedial action in relation to them.”

Ofcom claims to have investigated the breach and found that the “remedial actions that BT has committed to are sufficient” and will deliver enough temporary separation so as to hopefully not have “any adverse consequences for competition“. The regulator also fears that the “adverse impact” on ISPs of not doing anything would be a far bigger risk.

BT’s Letter to Ofcom (24th Sept 2015)

Ofcom’s Letter to BT (25th Sept 2015)

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. “Openreach provides products and services to communication providers (CPs) on an “equivalent” basis. This obligation is embodied in the BT Undertakings given to the telecoms regulator Ofcom in September 2005.”
    source: https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/aboutus/equivalence/equivalence.do

    There is always the suspicion that whilst BTO remains part of BT Plc that things like this can happen, and therefore it gives the other BT subsidiaries (BT Retail, BT Wholesale, (Plusnet?)) potentially beneficial access/information to systems that other BTO CPs don’t have. Note there is no suggestion any advantage has happened, but there is this risk.

    A Chinese wall can only work so well, so there’s only really one answer here Ofcom if this regulation is to be guaranteed?

  2. Avatar hamish

    also the services of superfarce dial up broadband which is a shambles

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