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BT loses appeal against £22m fine for overcharging rivals

More bad news for BT as the company is handed yet another fine.

By Joe Clark

BT has been ordered to pay £22 million in interest to its competitors, following a decision from the Court of Appeal. The telco has been fined for overcharging rivals for the use of its ethernet services between 2006-2011.

In 2012, the British telco regulator Ofcom ordered the company to repay rivals Virgin, Verizon, TalkTalk, Sky, and Vodafone a sum of £95 million for five years’ worth of overcharging.

The current dispute however, revolves around whether or not BT should have to pay interest for the transgression. In the summer of 2015 it was decided by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) that the telco should have to pay £22 million in interest, a decisions which the company appealed.

appealThis week the Court of Appeal gave their verdict in favour of CAT’s initial ruling, and stated that Ofcom is permitted to fine BT for the interest. Ofcom have also released a full report on its Final Determination.

In the report Ofcom said: “BT should pay interest on the amount of £22,219,000 from 29 December 2012 at an annual rate of BoE+1%.

BT has not yet indicated if they will pay the £33 million ordered of them but an Openreach spokesperson said: “We will now consider the judgement in detail and assess whether we appeal to the Supreme Court.”

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This news marks the latest in a long line of competition trouble for BT. In March, Ofcom also handed the company a record £42 million in fines and £300 million to rivals for failing to comply with competition rules. It was found the company had failed to compensate rivals using its Openreach service for delayed installations and outages.

BT and UK broadband provider, Openreach, were also forced by Ofcom to become legally separate companies in March, marking the end of a two year long dispute.. At one point the feud escalated to the point that the regulator threatened to take the case all the way to European Commission in Brussels.

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