Competition Commission directed to examine BT’s appeal of wholesale service price controls

31 Jul 2012

With UK telecoms regulator Ofcom having formally set the new pricing structure for a number of wholesale fixed line services provided by BT’s wholesale division Openreach in March 2012, an appeal by the fixed line incumbent over the changes has been referred to the Competition Commission, according to TechWeek Europe.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, the revised charges took effect from 1 April 2012, and as per the new pricing regime the annual cost of a fully unbundled line fell to GBP87.41 (USD138.16) per year, down from the previous cost of GBP91.50. Looking forward, this fee will decrease further in the next financial year (from 1 April 2013), with the reduction calculated using the formula of retail price index (RPI) -5.9%. A shared unbundled line, meanwhile, which previously cost GBP14.70 per year, was reduced to GBP11.92 for FY2012/13, with that charge set to fall further next year by RPI -15.9%. Rounding out the regulator’s price revisions, Ofcom also confirmed that the cost of wholesale line rental (WLR) would be reduced to GBP98.81 per annum from its previous rate of GBP103.68 from March 2012, with a further reduction due in FY2013/14 using a formula of RPI -7.3%.

The latest development comes after an initial appeal against the charges was heard by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), with that body having referred the matter over to the Competition Commission. The tribunal made two orders in examining the appeal, with the first of those calling on the Competition Commission to reach a determination regarding the price controls by 29 March 2013. The second order meanwhile stated that it was ‘granting permission to BT to withdraw certain grounds of its appeal’.
United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Ofcom