Own-initiative investigation into KCOM Group concerning its compliance with Section 105A(1) – (3) of the Communications Act 2003 and General Condition 3.1

03 February 2017

Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative investigation
Investigation against: KCOM
Case Opened: 11 February 2016
Case Closed: 8 August 2017
Issue: Whether KCOM has complied with its obligations under Section 105A(1) – (3) of the Communications Act 2003 and General Condition 3.1 in relation to network security and access to emergency services.
Relevant Instrument: Section 105A of the Communications Act 2003 and General Condition 3 of the General Conditions of Entitlement

Update 23 November 2017

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision issued to KCOM on 8 August 2017 can now be found under related content.

End of update note

Update 8 August 2017

On 8 August 2017, Ofcom issued a Confirmation Decision to KCOM in this investigation under section 96C of the Communications Act 2003. For further information, see the accompanying press release. Ofcom will make available a public version of the Confirmation Decision as soon as possible.

End of update note

Update 5 June 2017

Further to the update note of 3 February 2017, Ofcom has today issued a new Notification to KCOM under section 96A of the Communications Act setting out our provisional findings that there are reasonable grounds for believing KCOM to have breached GC3.1(c) in the period from 26 May 2011 to 27 December 2015.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM failed to take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, uninterrupted telephone access to emergency services on 999 and 112 in breach of GC3.1(c).

KCOM now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision in accordance with section 96C of the Communications Act 2003.

End of update note

Update 3 February 2017

The Notification that Ofcom sent to KCOM on 7 October 2016 did not accurately reflect changes to Ofcom’s legal enforcement powers, which came into effect in May 2011. As this technical change occurred during the period for which we found there are reasonable grounds for believing KCOM to be in breach of General Condition 3.1(c), we have decided to withdraw the original Notification issued to the company.

KCOM provided its representations on the matters contained in the original Notification on 2 December 2016 and we are currently considering these. If we continue to have reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM contravened General Condition 3.1(c) then we would expect to issue a new notification to KCOM in due course.

End of update note

Update 7 October 2016

Following an investigation, Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM contravened General Condition 3.1(c) from 25 February 2009 to 28 December 2015. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to KCOM under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM failed to take sufficient measures to maintain uninterrupted telephone access to emergency services on 999 and 112 in breach of GC3.1(c). Given the findings in relation to GC3.1(c), Ofcom did not go on to consider whether KCOM has contravened section 105A of the Act.

KCOM now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification before Ofcom makes a final decision in accordance with section 96C of the Communications Act 2003.

End of update note

Ofcom has today opened an investigation into KCOM’s compliance with section 105A(1) – (3) of the Communications Act 2003 and General Condition 3.1 (GC3.1). This investigation follows KCOM’s notification of a temporary reduction in the availability of its network under Section 105(B) of the Communications Act 2003.

Section 105A(1) requires communications providers (CPs) to take technical and organisational measures to manage risks to the security of public electronic communications networks and services. These must include measures to prevent or minimise the impact of security incidents on end-users (section 105A(2)) and on interconnection (section 105A(3)).

GC3.1 requires CPs to take all necessary measures to maintain, to the greatest extent possible, the proper and effective functioning of its network at all times, the fullest availability of its network and services in cases of force majeure, and uninterrupted access to emergency organisations for their end-users.

Ofcom’s investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that KCOM has failed to comply with its obligations under Section 105A(1) – (3) and GC3.1.

Case Leader: Kathryn Searle

Case Reference: CW/01176/02/16