CityFibre lodges appeal over Openreach’s ‘Equinox Offer’ with the CAT

9 Dec 2021

Following suggestions last month that British telecoms regulator Ofcom could face legal action over its decision to approve Openreach’s ‘Equinox Offer’ – which introduced a notable reduction in the cost of the latter’s wholesale fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) products – such a development has now been forthcoming. Local pure fibre provider CityFibre has lodged an appeal against the decision with the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT), the latter confirmed in publishing a statement of the appeal.

In taking legal action against the decision, CityFibre’s grounds of appeal include a claim that Ofcom’s ‘Overlap Conclusion’ – in which the regulator claimed that in the next one to two years the overlap of altnets with the Openreach FTTP footprint was likely to be limited – had ‘no sound evidential foundation and was not a conclusion Ofcom could reasonably draw from the evidence’. Further, CityFibre has argued the Overlap Conclusion was never put to stakeholders to consult on, putting Ofcom ‘in breach of [its] duties of fair consultation and reasonable enquiry’.

According to the CAT’s summary of appeal, CityFibre is seeking, among other things: an order quashing Ofcom’s conclusion relating to whether the terms of the Equinox Offer potentially created a barrier to using altnets; and an order directing Ofcom to conduct a more comprehensive analysis of the Equinox Offer.