Feeds

Freeserve in legal fight against Oftel

Broadband scrap

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Freeserve went to a Competition Commission tribunal on Tuesday to get an Oftel ruling concerning BT's alleged abuse of its dominant market overturned.

The ISP claims it's been forced to take this action to ensure that the telecoms regulator complies with its responsibilities to enforce competition law in a proper manner.

Yesterday's appeal against the Director General of Telecommunications comes after Oftel rejected a complaint lodged earlier this year in which Freeserve alleged BT Wholesale had abused its dominant position through cross-subsidy, discrimination and predatory pricing.

Unhappy with Oftel's decision to dismiss Freeserve's concerns, the UK's biggest ISP took Oftel to the Competition Commission Appeals Tribunal (CCAT) alleging that BT Openworld was given advance notice on the 40 per cent price cut on wholesale broadband access announced earlier this year.

Freeserve also alleged that this enabled BT Openworld to put together marketing campaigns and price offers well before other ISPs had a chance to react to the price cuts.

BT has always strenuously denied that these allegations are true. But if Freeserve is successful in its legal challenge, then ultimately Oftel could be forced to either re-examine the case, or the Competition Commission might decide to look at the matter itself.

A ruling from this preliminary hearing is expected within a couple of weeks.

Tuesday's legal action coincided with Freeserve lodging another complaint against BT.

This time, Freeserve complained to Oftel about BT Broadband - the no-frills access-only product from BT Retail.

It maintains that BT Retail - the massive customer-facing division of BT with more than 20m customers - is capitalising on its "monopoly position" within the fixed line telephony market to flog BT Broadband.

By doing so Freeserve alleges that BT Retail has "unmatchable advantages" against ISPs, including the giant telco's own Internet division, BTopenworld.

Said David Melville, Freeserve General Counsel: "Oftel would have us believe that all is rosy in the UK's broadband market with consumer take-up now gathering pace.

"But market growth must not be at the expense of the true competition that created affordable narrowband Internet for millions of consumers.

"Nobody has any interest in seeing BT monopolise this important new market the way it does telephony, least of all consumers, who will see prices fall more slowly and service quality inevitably suffer.

"If the UK truly wants to climb the world’s broadband league ladder, then more must be done by to promote healthy competition and so stimulate genuine consumer choice," he said.

Freeserve warned that if BT was allowed to carry on unchecked it could stifle the development of the broadband market and keep prices artificially high.

Sources at BT dismissed this latest complaint describing Freeserve as a "serial complainer" and warned that anything Freeserve said should be taken with a "large pinch of salt". ®

Related Story

Freeserve slams BT broadband ad blitz

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
Inside the EYE of the TORnado: From Navy spooks to Silk Road
It's hard enough to peel the onion, are you hard enough to eat the core?
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.