CMA publishes ruling on dark fibre pricing appeals

12 Apr 2017

Determinations regarding appeals by alternative operators TalkTalk and CityFibre over leased line charges have been published by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

CityFibre and TalkTalk had previously lodged separate appeals with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), following regulator Ofcom’s final decision regarding the amount that fixed line incumbent BT could charge other providers for purchasing leased line services in April 2016. Subsequently, the CAT referred both appeals to the CMA in November 2016.

In its final determination on the TalkTalk appeal, the CMA ruled that Ofcom had made an error in the methodology used for calculating the price for Dark Fibre Access. As a result, it said it has given guidance to the CAT that the decision should be remitted to Ofcom, with the regulator required to amend its methodology. CityFibre’s appeal was, however, dismissed. In confirming its findings, the CMA noted that the final determination had been made by ‘a group of independent panel members supported by a case team of CMA staff’. It added that the CAT is now required to determine the specified price control matters in accordance with the CMA’s findings, unless the latter’s determination is set aside on judicial review grounds.