Ofcom hands down its largest ever fine
Telecoms operator Ofcom has slapped BT with a record £42m fine, the largest it has ever handed down, for delays in installing lines.
BT has set aside £300m to repay providers for the delays.
Openreach has “apologised wholeheartedly” for the mistakes.
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s investigations director, said: “These high-speed lines are a vital part of this country’s digital backbone.
“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.”
Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms analyst at Ofcom-accredited broadband advice site Cable.co.uk, says: “Today’s ruling offers insight into just some of the factors contributing to Ofcom’s decision to split BT and Openreach into two separate entities. Clearly, being the sole owner of shared infrastructure has given rise to precisely the sort of conflict of interest of which BT has long been accused.
“Customers must never be allowed to become collateral damage in the battle to gain the upper hand in the market. Fines such as this, painful though they are for those on whom they are levied, are vital in maintaining a fair, competitive marketplace in which business can thrive.”