Ofcom took over responsibility for an investigation into potential abuse by BT of its dominant position in the retail broadband market place from Oftel, and it looks like an investigation that has been running for four years may be coming to a close. A potential solution if BT is found to have had its hand well and truly in the cookie jar might be for Ofcom to make a fine of up to 10% of the BT group revenues, which amount to £19.5billion.
You can read some more on the possible fine over at The Times Online. Some of our older news items
relating to the investigation are to be found at the links below:
While one can understand the complexity of a case like this, for it to take four years to resolve is just ridiculous. Any benefit to be had from a fine is almost counter productive now, as the retail broadband market has changed massively, in fact while BT Retail is the dominant ADSL provider still, for the overall broadband market, NTL has the largest retail segment, at 2.8 million connections versus BT Retail with 2.3 million. For an idea of how the market has altered, take a look at this item from February 2002, with Home 500 connections starting at £23.44, which at the time of its announcement was a ground breaking price point, and back in July 2001 you would be paying £39.99 for the same service but with BT Openworld, who in 2001 were pretty much the cheapest home ADSL provider.
If Ofcom decides to fine BT, then perhaps a good use for the money, would be to use the money to force BT into installing ADSL on all the remaining exchanges without any ADSL or equivalent service, and where exchanges currently only support the Exchange Activate 0.5Mbps service to upgrade the systems to allow full rate ADSL to be offered, and the full range of service providers. Another option would be to alter the Internet access part of the USO imposed on BT, such that it would be forced to remove line sharing devices like DACs and line concentrators, which currently it will remove, but only if it decides it is economic to do so.
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