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TMCNet:  Ofcom's pounds sterling 95M bill for BT

[December 21, 2012]

Ofcom's pounds sterling 95M bill for BT

Dec 21, 2012 (London Evening Standard - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- BT was today hit with a pounds sterling 95 million bill by regulator Ofcom for "overcharging" rival telecoms firms for access to its network.



Cable & Wireless Worldwide, BSkyB, Talk Talk, Virgin Media and Verizon are all entitled to pay-outs.

Ofcom said BT had overcharged these firms for "certain wholesale ethernet services" between April 2006 and March 2011 and must repay them "the full amounts," although the exact sums for each company were kept confidential.

BT said it was "disappointed" and refuted Ofcom's verdict.

Today's decision was broadly in line with earlier findings in this long-running case.

Those close to BT added that the telecoms giant had prepared in advance to take the pounds sterling 94.8 million hit, which will have to be included in its next financial results.

Its shares fell 2.4p, or 1 percent, to 240p.

BT said it could still appeal the ruling and it is understood that it should not affect its ethernet prices in future.

In Ofcom's ruling, it said "BT has failed to demonstrate" that its charges were "cost-orientated", adding there was a likelihood of "economic harm" to the market.

But BT hit back, saying: "We have provided evidence to Ofcom that shows we complied with our regulatory obligations and that we kept them informed of our pricing decisions throughout the period being disputed.

"The market for ethernet services has grown strongly over the period and there is no evidence of economic harm to support Ofcom's findings." ___ (c)2012 London Evening Standard Visit the London Evening Standard at www.standard.co.uk Distributed by MCT Information Services

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