Ofcom tells BT to improve its business services
22 March 2016
- From the section Business
Communications watchdog Ofcom has told BT to install high speed cables to businesses much faster and reduce the prices it charges for them.
It follows its review into “leased lines” which are used by big businesses and mobile and broadband operators to transfer data on their networks.
Most of these lines are owned and maintained on behalf of competing providers by BT.
Ofcom said its performance had not been “acceptable.”
The draft proposals come less than a month after Ofcom promised measures to improve BT’s Openreach operation, which is its business responsible for telecoms and broadband infrastructure.
In February the regulator stopped short of demanding it was split from BT, but said it was still an option.
Ofcom said that Openreach was taking too long to install leased lines and was not providing enough certainty that the services would be provided by the date first given to customers.
Jonathan Oxley, Ofcom’s competition group director, said: “BT is relied on by many companies to install these lines, and its performance has not been acceptable.
“These new rules will mean companies across the UK benefit from faster installations times, greater certainty about installation dates and fast repairs if things go wrong.”
It said since 2011 the average time between a customer’s order and the line being ready to use had increased from 40 working days to 48.
Ofcom wants that reduced to 46 days by the end of March 2017 and returned to 40 days by 2018.
The regulator also found that Openreach was failing to complete one in four leased line installations on the initial date it promised customers.
It wants Openreach to have completed 80% of leased line installations on the date initially promised, rising to 90% by the year after.
Openreach must also fix at least 94% of faults on its leased line network within five hours.
The regulator plans to reduce the wholesale prices BT charges for leased lines services over three years and expects those reductions to be passed on to businesses.
It wants BT to give competitors access to its optical fibre network, which would allow rivals to take direct control of the connection.
This post was written by FSB News