Freeserve.com plc - BTOpenworld's Broadband Pricing

25 February 2005

Complainant: Freeserve.com plc
Investigation against: BT
Case opened: 16 April 2003
Case Closed: 20 November 2003
Issue: BTOpenworld's pricing policies regarding its residential broadband services
Relevant Instrument: Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (abuse of a dominant position)

Oftel closed this case on 20 November 2003 by issuing a non-infringement decision. A non-confidential version of the decision has been prepared and is available at the link below.

Investigation by the Director General of Telecommunications

Case leader: Philipp Girardet (e-mail: philipp.girardet@ofcom.org.uk)
Case reference: CW/00613/04/03


Text published when the case was opened

Freeserve.com plc - BTOpenworld's Broadband Pricing

Complainant: Freeserve.com plc
Investigation against: BT
Case opened: 16 April 2003
Issue: BTOpenworld's pricing policies regarding its residential broadband services
Relevant Instrument: Chapter II of the Competition Act 1998 (abuse of a dominant position)

Following the Competition Appeal Tribunal's decision in Freeserve.com plc v Director General of Telecommunications (Case No. 1007/2/3/02) of 16 April 2002, the Director General has undertaken to re-assess certain pricing issues raised by Freeserve in a letter to Oftel dated 26 March 2002 (see "BT's broadband marketing", para. 14-17, case reference CW/00518/04/02, Competition Bulletin, Issue 25, June 2002).

In particular, Oftel will re-assess whether BT may have abused a dominant position between March and May 2002 by pricing BTOpenworld's residential broadband services so as to prevent Freeserve and other providers of residential broadband services based on BT Wholesale's IPStream product from effectively competing with BTOpenworld. In the context of this investigation, the Director General will also assess whether BT may be abusing a dominant position through the pricing of BTOpenworld's residential broadband services today.

Update note - August 2003

Please click here to access a paper summarising Oftel's current thinking on certain key methodological issues concerning the treatment of the "cross subsidy" and "predatory pricing" allegations raised by Freeserve in its original complaint of March 2002 in the context of this investigation.

Case leader: Philipp Girardet (e-mail: philipp.girardet@oftel.gov.uk)
Case reference: CW/00613/04/03