One of the biggest news that made waves in the telecom sector was when Ofcom decided to slap a £42m fine on the telecom giant BT. It is the largest fine ever imposed on any telecom company and was declared on the basis of regulatory breaches at Openreach, the company that owns the cables and pipes that connect almost all business and home networks in the UK. Apart from the £42m, BT would also be paying a collective amount of £300m to its rivals as it did not compensate other operators for the delay in installing Ethernet lines.
A subsidiary of BT, Openreach is the biggest cable network provider in the United Kingdom that develops and maintains networks for providers like Vodafone, Talk Talk etc. According to the telecom regulator Ofcom, BT did not adhere to the terms of its contract that stated that BT would offer compensation payments to providers if it failed to deliver Ethernet services on time. The lack of responsibility was observed on BT’s side between the time period of January 2013 and December 2014. This is the main reason that Ofcom decided to penalise the company with the fine along with compelling it to pay compensation to its rivals.
As Ethernet forms the backbone of connecting people digitally, such mistakes on the part of BT were not pardonable. The penalty includes a £300,000 fine which is levied as BT failed to disclose absolute information to the investigation team of the regulator. As many people keep looking for cheaper broadband deals, this kind of mistake will not help them as broadband and phone network providers will keep passing the expenses to the customers. Therefore, it does not let healthy competition thrive in the UK.
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s investigations director clarified things further by saying that “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 telecom 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.”
Reacting on the matter, Clive Selley, the chief executive of Openreach, said that the company apologizes “wholeheartedly for the mistakes. This issue is unrepresentative of the vast majority of work conducted by Openreach and we are committed to delivering outstanding service for our customers.” Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT Group also broke silence by saying that “We take this issue very seriously and we have put in place measures, controls and people to prevent it happening again.”
Openreach has also said that it had changed fundamentally and implemented a number of major governance enhancements in recent months to make it a more transparent and autonomous business.”
Well, with Ofcom taking such strict regulatory measures, it surely boosts people’s confidence in its services and actions. Its efforts towards creating a competitive environment in the telecom sector will pay off in the coming future as suggested by experts.
However, post Brexit, Britons suffer from heavy household bills and broadband packages at cheaper rates would help in shrinking these bills. In addition, it will ease a burden on working from home people who needs internet and cheap broadband network for business.
By choosing the cheapest broadband tariffs, one can reduce the overall household bill to a bare minimum. Shay Ramani, the founder of FreePriceCompare said that “This is a positive step that will boost competition in the telecom sector. It also ensures that Ofcom is serving its duties well and the telephone market will get through tough situations under the leadership of the regulator.”
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