Dispute between Colt and BT about geographic termination rates

23 December 2010

Dispute between: Colt Technology Services (Colt) and BT plc (BT)
Case opened: 2 September 2010
Case closed: 22 December 2010
Issue:
Colt asked Ofcom to resolve a dispute under section 185 of the Communications Act 2003 (the Act) between Colt and BT concerning the termination rate payable by BT for calls originating on or transiting across BTs fixed network for termination on Colts fixed network.
Relevant instrument: Ofcom resolved this dispute using its powers under Chapter 3 of Part 2 of the Act.

On 22 December 2010, Ofcom issued a final determination under sections 188 and 190 of the Act resolving this dispute. The final determination was issued to the parties in dispute and also sent to the parties which registered as interested parties. Please see related items for the non-confidential version of the final determination.

Update note 22 November 2010

On 19 November 2010, Ofcom issued a draft determination to the parties in relation to this dispute (please see related item). Ofcom will be consulting on its proposals until 5 pm on 6 December 2010.

Please submit responses by this date to:

Monika Kochanowska
Ofcom
Riverside House
2A Southwark Bridge Road
London SE1 9HA

Or by e-mail to Monika.Kochanowska@ofcom.org.uk

End of update note

Colt and BT have failed to agree the level of the termination rate charged for the termination of calls originated on or transiting across BTs network for termination on Colts fixed network. Colts termination rate has, to date, been calculated in line with the standard industry Reciprocity Agreement which expired on 30 September 2009. In December 2009 Colt issued two Operator Charge Change Notices (OCCNs) to BT seeking to amend the formula used to calculate Colts termination rate until guidance on future reciprocity arrangements had been issued by Ofcom. Both of these OCCNs were rejected by BT.

Ofcom recognises that on the face of the referral it appears that the dispute meets the relevant statutory criteria and it is appropriate for Ofcom to handle it according to section 186 of the Act. Ofcom has therefore accepted this dispute for resolution.

In resolving disputes Ofcom must act in accordance with the six Community requirements that give effect to Article 8 of the Framework Directive. In summary, those requirements are:

  • to promote competition in communications markets;
  • to secure that Ofcom contributes to development of the European internal market;
  • to promote the interests of all European Union citizens;
  • to act in a manner which, so far as practicable, is technology-neutral;
  • to encourage, to the extent Ofcom considers it appropriate, the provision of network access and service interoperability; and
  • to encourage such compliance with certain international standards as is necessary for facilitating service interoperability and securing freedom of choice for the customers of communications providers.

Scope of the dispute:

The scope of the dispute is to determine whether the fixed geographic termination rate proposed by Colt to BT in its OCCN of 14 December 2009, with effect from 1 March 2010, for terminating on Colts network calls originating on, or transiting across, BTs fixed network is fair and reasonable in accordance with SMP Condition BC1; this rate being equivalent to Rate A, calculated as per the expired Reciprocity Agreement between Colt and BT, but treating traffic routed by Colt via a third party transit provider as traffic delivered by Colt to BT at Single Tandem level for the purposes of that calculation.

Procedural matters:

Guidance on the resolution of disputes can be found in Ofcom's Guidelines for the handling of competition complaints, and complaints and disputes about breaches of conditions imposed under the EU Directives.

All representations on the scope of the dispute should be submitted to Ofcom by 9 September 2010.

Stakeholders interested in the outcome of this dispute should notify Ofcom by 9 September 2010, describing the relevance of the outcome of this dispute to their business. Stakeholders with relevant information and evidence in respect of this dispute should submit this to Ofcom by 23 September 2009.

Stakeholders who wish Ofcom to join them as parties to the dispute must provide evidence, as set out in Ofcom's Guidelines, that they are in dispute.

Case Leader: Monika Kochanowska (e-mail: Monika.Kochanowska@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: CW/01054/08/10