Freeserve is stepping up its campaign to "level the playing field" for broadband service providers.
With its fight against AOL and HM Customs & Excise still doing the legal rounds, the internet service provider (ISP) has turned its attentions to the BT Group with two separate actions designed to break what it sees as BT's near monopoly of the broadband industry.
At the heart of the legal debate for Freeserve is its assertion that BT is abusing its dominant position in the closely related wholesale and retail telephony markets.
The ISP claims that this allows the BT Group to obtain a significant or dominant position in the residential broadband market.
At the High Court this afternoon, a preliminary hearing is being held before the Competition Commission Appeals Tribunal.
Freeserve will argue that a decision made by Oftel in March to dismiss the ISP's complaint against BT "lacked transparency and manifestly erred in law".
The case which it put before Oftel in March claimed that marketing carried out by BT Wholesale benefited BT's residential broadband businesses at the retail level, and in particular BT Openworld.
Freeserve told Oftel that this constituted cross-subsidy which, in the circumstances, created an abuse of a dominant position.
It also claimed that BT Wholesale provided BT Openworld with the privileged confidential information in advance of the rest of the market that there would be a more than 40 per cent reduction in the wholesale price of broadband access.
A spokeswoman for Freeserve told vnunet.com that it did not expect any significant developments as today's is a preliminary hearing.
However, the company is asking the Tribunal either to set aside Oftel's decision and refer the matter back to the industry watchdog for what it calls "proper consideration and investigation", or to "find in favour of its argument".
Freeserve has also launched an attack on BT's 'No Frills' broadband service which is being run by BT Retail rather than BT Openworld.
The main elements of the complaint to Oftel centre on BT Retail using its monopoly position within the related voice telephony market to drum up business.
Freeserve has maintained that BT Retail had unmatchable advantages for this broadband service such as being able to bill users monthly or quarterly while running a free 150 customer help line.
A spokesman for BT dismissed Freeserve's complaints, pointing out that Oftel had been apprised of BT's plans in advance.
"We are wholly confident that the plans comply with the regulatory guidelines. But we are not going to engage in tit-for-tat with Freeserve," he told vnunet.com.
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