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Ofcom rejects Talktalk’s BT fibre complaint but vows to regulate pricing

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Fri Jun 20 2014, 11:37
Superfast fibre broadband rollout

UK TELECOMS WATCHDOG Ofcom dismissed Talktalk's complaint that BT's fibre pricing is "anticompetitive" on Thursday, but vowed to regulate the firm's pricing going forward.

BT's Openreach network is used by BT, along internet service providers (ISPs) including Talktalk, which complained that the price of the network was being set unfairly.

Despite announcing that it had investigated TalkTalks complaint and saw "no grounds for action", Ofcom proposed regulation to monitor BT's fibre pricing going forward in order to ensure it's not squeezing rival operators out of the market.

Ofcom said, "The rules would mean that BT has to maintain a sufficient margin between its wholesale and retail superfast broadband charges to allow other operators profitably to match its prices," adding that this is to "ensure that BT does not set prices in such a way that prevents other operators from competing profitably for superfast broadband customers."

BT of course welcomed Ofcom's ruling, and told The INQUIRER in a statement, "We are pleased that Ofcom has rejected Talktalk's competition complaint and shown that BT's fibre pricing is completely fair.

"The consultation is welcome. We hope it results in regulatory clarity and certainty, and discourages spurious claims such as that made by Talktalk.

"There is strong competition in the UK broadband market and we are confident our pricing will pass any regulatory test that may be put in place. It is important that Ofcom encourages investment as well as competition, and recognises the full costs involved in deploying fibre."

Talktalk declined to comment on Ofcom's decision, but said it is "pleased" that the watchdog was being proactive in regards to fibre pricing.

Talktalk's complaint isn't the first time BT has been slammed as "anticompetitive". In April, the UK government was called out for handing BT a monopoly in the rural broadband market, having reportedly given all of the 44 contracts from its £1.2bn broadband scheme to the telecoms giant. µ

 

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