CAT directs Ofcom to reconsider decisions in its ‘Business Connectivity Market Review’

27 Jul 2017

Britain’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has ruled on a case lodged by fixed line incumbent BT, which challenged determinations made by local telecom regulator Ofcom in its ‘Business Connectivity Market Review – Review of competition in the provision of leased lines’.

In publishing its findings on the matter, CAT said it had unanimously found that Ofcom ‘erred’ in both its conclusion that defining a single product market for contemporary interface symmetric broadband origination (CISBO) services of all bandwidths was appropriate, as well as its definition of the ‘Rest of the UK’ as a single geographic market. Further, the competition body argued that Ofcom had also been wrong in its determination of the boundary between the competitive core segments and the terminating segments of BT’s network. As a result, CAT said it was quashing Ofcom’s decisions in respect of all three aforementioned matters. However, with the Tribunal noting that it was ‘not in a position to substitute its own findings in relation to any of the above matters’, it confirmed they would be remitted to the telecoms watchdog for reconsideration.

In response to the ruling, the Financial Times cites Ofcom as saying it was ‘disappointed’, though it is understood the regulator will wait until September 2017 – when the detailed findings are expected to be released by CAT – to decide how to proceed.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), Ofcom