BT DataStream debate rumbles on

18 Jun 2003

The long-running feud over BT’s [London: BT] pricing policy of its broadband wholesale products has taken a new twist with three of the incumbent’s rivals accusing it of being in breach of the 1998 Competitions Act. Energis, Tiscali [Milan: TIS] and Your Communications have complained to telecoms regulator Oftel saying that BT is abusing its monopoly position and using multiple tactics to promote its IPStream service at the expense of DataStream. DataStream allows rival wholesalers to offer services to ISPs or direct to customers via their own networks, whilst IPStream provides for ADSL broadband connections to be resold by ISPs themselves over BT’s networks. The three companies are arguing that DataStream’s higher price and more rigid contract terms are impacting upon competition in the UK’s broadband market. BT cut the price of IPStream in April but only followed suit with DataStream when Oftel prompted the following month – a move branded as a token gesture by rivals. The telcos hope that in citing the Competitions Act the situation will be more rapidly resolved allowing parties to appeal for damages via the Competition Appeals Tribunal.

United Kingdom