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BT Fined £70K by Ofcom UK for Failing to Provide Information UPDATE

Friday, January 26th, 2018 (10:37 am) - Score 1,830
ofcom uk telecoms regulator

Telecoms giant BT has been hit with a £70,000 fine after the regulator, Ofcom, ruled that the UK operator had failed to provide requested information as part of their ongoing Wholesale Local Access Market Review, which is examining how fixed broadband and phone services are supplied to ISPs and sold.

In February and June 2017, Ofcom says it requested information (i.e. two separate statutory information requests) from BT (Openreach) about the prices of certain supplementary products it offers for its wholesale “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) services – Fibre Broadband Boost and Superfast Recharge. The regulator said that ISPs use BT’s network to buy these “optimisation and repair” services in order to improve the speed and reliability of their customers’ broadband.

Ofcom Statement

When BT responded to these information requests, it failed to state that the prices for the products were different on a Saturday to those it charged on weekdays. It also provided the discounted price for one of these products, rather than the contracted price.

These mistakes came to light when BT provided pricing information to Ofcom in subsequent submissions that conflicted with the figures it had originally supplied to us.

Our information-gathering powers are important to our work in carrying out market reviews to protect consumers, and providers who fail to provide complete information will face fines.

As a result of these findings, Ofcom has imposed a penalty of £70,000 on BT. The penalty incorporates a 30% reduction to reflect BT’s agreement to settle at an early stage in Ofcom’s investigation by “admitting full liability“. A few extra details can be found here.

An Openreach Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We take our statutory obligations very seriously and over the last 18 months we’ve responded to more than 900 questions across 68 separate information requests from Ofcom.

We devote significant attention and resources to these responses and we always share information in good faith.

In this case we made an honest attempt to provide unambiguous pricing data, but we realise now that we could’ve been clearer and provided more context. The error didn’t benefit Openreach or harm consumers, but nevertheless we apologise sincerely.”

In the grander scheme of things this is a fairly small breach and the £70k fine isn’t going to cause the operator much concern, although it’s difficult to gauge since at the time of writing the regulator has yet to publish full details of their decision.

UPDATE 12:10pm

Added a comment from Openreach above.

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar chrisp

    £70k for a mistake.

    What will ISP’s & consumers get for OFCOM’s mistakes?

  2. Avatar Billy

    I always wonder what the point is in these huge fines. The shareholders aren’t going to pay the fine, neither are the management. Looks like the customers will be footing the bill again.

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