Mar 27, 2017

BT hit with record £42m Ofcom fine

BT has been hit with a record £42m fine by the telecoms regulator Ofcom and has agreed to pay £300m to its rivals over the use of a loophole that artificially reduced the amount it compensated companies including Vodafone when it failed to connect a line in time. The scale of the fine and the refund to its rivals, which rely on BT's networking division Openreach to connect lines, is unprecedented in UK telecoms. Ofcom said the penalty - more than 10 times the previous record in telecoms - reflected the seriousness of the breach and that BT, the operator of the national network, had abused its position in the market. Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom's investigations director, said: "We found BT broke our rules by failing to pay other telecoms companies proper compensation when these services were not provided on time. The size of our fine reflects how important these rules are to protect competition and, ultimately, consumers and businesses. Our message is clear - we will not tolerate this sort of behaviour." Vodafone led the charge against BT after it accused Openreach of artificially reducing the amount it must compensate its wholesale customers by exploiting the deemed consent concession.

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