BT has been fined £42 million after an Ofcom investigation found failings with its installation arm, Openreach.
This fine comes after Openreach failed to install high-speed lines on time, and then failed to pay full compensation to the other providers. These failings occurred between January 2013 and December 2014.
Openreach maintains and installs the copper and fibre lines that run from telephone exchanges to homes and businesses in the UK. It is obliged to install these lines for other providers such as TalkTalk and Vodafone, which brought the initial complaint.
Ofcom says it has taken action because BT breached rules intended to monitor its ‘significant market power’. This is to make sure BT doesn’t abuse its position in a way that harms competition to consumers and businesses.
BT must now compensate all the telecom providers that suffered loss due to its actions within 12 months. It has also been fined a further £300,000 for failing to provide information to Ofcom.
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom investigations director, says: “These high-speed lines are a vital part of this country’s digital backbone. Millions of people rely on BT’s network for the phone and broadband services they use every day.
“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.”
Earlier this month Ofcom announced a deal that will see Openreach separate from the rest of BT, something which it hopes will improve services for home phone and broadband users.