Investigation into BT response to Connected Nations data request
|Investigation into||British Telecommunications plc (BT)|
|Case opened||18 March 2020|
|Case closed||30 July 2021|
This investigation examined whether BT has contravened the requirements in section 135 of the Communications Act 2003 relating to the provision of information to Ofcom.
|Relevant legal provision(s)||
Section 135 of the Communications Act 2003
Ofcom has today published a non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision (PDF, 311.5 KB) issued to BT on 30 Jul 2021.
Ofcom has issued its Confirmation Decision to BT that it had contravened requirements in a statutory information request for the provision of information for the purposes of Ofcom’s Connected Nations 2019 report. The information was also to be used to check eligibility for a broadband connection from a designated provider in fulfilment of the broadband USO.
As a result of these findings, Ofcom has imposed a penalty of £42,500 on BT. The penalty incorporates a 15% reduction to reflect BT’s agreement to settle this investigation by admitting full liability.
Ofcom will publish a non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision as soon as possible.
We have decided there are reasonable grounds for believing BT has contravened its obligations under section 135 of the Communications Act 2003 (the ‘Act’) as a result of providing inaccurate information in response to a statutory information request seeking data about EE’s Fixed Wireless Access broadband service.
We have issued a provisional notification under section 138 of the Act to BT setting out our reasons for this. BT now has an opportunity to make representations to us on our provisional decision, which we will take into account before we issue a final decision.
Ofcom requires communications providers (under section 135 of the Communications Act 2003) to provide complete and accurate information upon request.
On 19 September 2019, Ofcom issued BT with final notice of one such request under section 135 of the Communications Act 2003. This required BT to provide (among other things) data on Fixed Wireless Access network coverage in the UK.
Ofcom used this information in the 2019 Connected Nations report to estimate the number of premises which would be potentially eligible to receive broadband services under the Universal Service Obligation. As a result of receiving new information provided by BT, on 18 March 2020 Ofcom published an updated report containing corrected estimates. Ofcom does not expect this correction to have any impact on the implementation of the Broadband USO.
On 18 March 2020, Ofcom decided to open an investigation into BT’s compliance with this information request. Ofcom’s investigation will examine whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that BT has failed to comply with its obligations under section 135, namely whether BT’s response to the information request was complete and accurate.
Hugh Durant (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)