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Ofcom Opens Wider Investigation of BT Openreach’s Ethernet Delays

Friday, November 6th, 2015 (11:20 am) - Score 1,300

The UK telecoms regulator has today decided to launch a wider investigation after Vodafone complained that BTOpenreach had 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“.

An initial probe was launched two months ago (here), after Vodafone claimed that Openreach had been using the Deemed Consent mechanism in its contracts (clause 2.3) – this exists to cover a variety of factors that could cause delays (e.g. repairing damaged infrastructure or clearing blocked cable ducts) – to “inappropriately” delay service provision.

Ofcom imposes an obligation upon the national telecoms operator to provide its services “as soon as reasonably practicable and on fair and reasonable terms” and they have today reached a provisional conclusion, which raises a number of concerns about BT’s approach (feedback for this is open until 20th November 2015).

Ofcoms Statement

Our provisional view is that, in light of the above, BT would, in certain circumstances, have been in breach of its SMP obligation to provide its services on fair and reasonable terms and as soon as reasonably practicable.”

An Openreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

Ethernet provision is very complex and errors can occur in the process, though these were neither deliberate nor systematic. We will continue to work with Ofcom ahead of any final decision in its investigation.

We have already proposed significant changes to industry to improve the process and address the issues raised.”

The situation is such that Ofcom has also decided to open a second, much wider, and separate investigation (here) that will also cover a longer period from September 2012 to December 2014 (Vodafone’s complaint reflected the shorter September 2012 to January 2014 period).

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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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