Ofcom is to investigate BT to see if it is setting its prices for fibre broadband too high to create a monopoly on the superfast broadband market, after rival internet service provider (ISP) TalkTalk complained to the telecoms regulator.
The complaint relates to TalkTalk’s belief that BT charges too much for its fibre services at a wholesale level, making it harder for anyone else to compete. Ofcom said it believed there were “reasonable grounds” to investigate the complaints and expects an outcome by the end of the year.
“Ofcom has now opened an investigation […] and will consider whether BT has abused a dominant position under UK and/or EU competition law,” it said on its website.
The decision from Ofcom was welcomed by TalkTalk, which said it had long campaigned for the issue to be taken seriously as it is hampering genuine competition in the broadband market.
TalkTalk said: "We have long maintained that there needs to be tighter regulation in superfast broadband to ensure a level playing field and therefore deliver real benefits for consumers and businesses. We are pleased that Ofcom is taking this matter seriously and have decided there are reasonable grounds to investigate BT's wholesale fibre pricing."
BT, however, said Ofcom was wasting its time with the investigation. A spokesperson said: “We’re disappointed that Ofcom has opened this case, despite the lack of any evidence and we’re confident that there’s no case to answer. It would be better if the industry’s and Ofcom’s focus was on investing in the future of the country rather than on spurious actions designed to hold up fibre in the UK.”
BT has clashed with TalkTalk in the past, calling the firm "copper luddities" for their refusal to invest in fibre for its networks.
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