Feeds

BT faces EC investigation over business rates

Illegal government aid?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

BT is under investigation by the European Commission for receiving unfair government assistance.

Optical networking company Vtesse made the complaint to the European Commission. It alleges that the business rates which BT pays for its local loop network are too low.

Aidan Paul, chief exec of Vtesse, told The Register: "BT is taxed at a disproportionately favourable rate and that rate is set in a different way to everyone else's. Any form of differential taxing is illegal: it's state aid. We will be pushing for the Commission to make full recovery of this money which we estimate to be £12bn since 1995."

Paul claims that the rates which local operators pay the government for network infrastructure are based on rental value. But BT's rates are calculated differently and are substantially less than those paid by other operators. He confirmed that the company made a complaint to the EC earlier this year.

A spokesman for BT said: "We've received no notification from either the government or the Commission so this is something of a surprise. If there is an inquiry of course we will co-operate fully but as far as we are concerned the agreement we reached with the Valuation Office was completely above board."

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, which is responsible for business rates, confirmed it had been approached by European officials and was considering its response, according to Reuters.

Vtesse previously, and unsuccessfully, accused BT of predatory pricing - offering customers cheaper deals than those it advertises. The company complained to Ofcom but the case was closed in November 2003. ®

Related stories

Telcos muscle in on IT
Ofcom calls BT tariff changes 'a surprise'
Ofcom starts urgent investigation into BT tariffs

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
BT said to have pulled patent-infringing boxes from DSL network
Take your license demand and stick it in your ASSIA
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.