Ofcom Probe BT’s Conduct During Tender for N.Ireland PSN Contract

Thursday, April 4th, 2019 (12:40 pm) – Score 101

northern ireland uk map

The UK communications regulator, Ofcom, has today opened a new investigation that will examine BT’s conduct during the tender for the recent £50m Northern Ireland Public Sector Shared Network contract, which will consider whether or not the operator kept within the Significant Market Power (SMP) rules.

Last year the Department of Finance announced that BT (Openreach) had won a major new contract – initially valued at around £50m over 9 years – to provide connectivity services to public sector organisations in Northern Ireland via a new Public Sector Shared Network (NI PSSN). The first core network services are due to be made available by this summer.

However Ofcom has today launched an investigation to “consider” whether BT has correctly complied with the relevant SMP conditions, as set out in their Fixed Access Market Review 2014 and the Wholesale Local Access Market Review 2018. At the time of writing the regulator hasn’t offered much detail, although they have outlined which aspects they intend to probe (here).

Specifically, Ofcom will consider:

  • Whether BT provided network access on reasonable request and on fair and reasonable terms, conditions and charges as required by SMP condition 1;
  • Whether BT unduly discriminated against other communications providers as prohibited by SMP condition 4; and/or
  • Whether BT provided network access on an Equivalence of Inputs basis as required by SMP condition 5.

We did ask BT for a comment but they redirected us to Openreach and we are now awaiting a response from them.

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