Own-initiative Enforcement Programme: Communications Providers’ compliance with General Condition 17.13 regarding annual geographic number charges

27 July 2016

Complainant: Ofcom own-initiative enforcement programme
Investigation against: Communications Providers (CPs) that Ofcom has reason to believe are liable to pay annual geographic number charges but have failed to do so.
Case opened: 23 February 2015
Issue: Compliance with the requirement under General Condition 17.13 for CPs to pay Ofcom any applicable annual number charge for ‘Specified Geographic Numbers’ within 14 days of receipt of an invoice from Ofcom. Specified Geographic Numbers are identified by one of 30 geographic area codes and are set out in the Annex to General Condition 17. Where appropriate, the Enforcement Programme will also monitor compliance with the requirement under General Condition 17.5, for CPs to secure that those numbers allocated to it are adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently.
Relevant instrument: General Condition 17 of Ofcom’s General Conditions of Entitlement: specifically, GC17.13 (Charging for Specified Geographic Numbers) and GC17.5 (Requirements in Connection with the Adoption of Telephone Numbers)

Update note: 27 July 2016

On 1 April 2016, Ofcom issued a Notification under section 96A of the Act ("the Notification") to Broadcast Telecom Limited (“Broadcast Telecom”), stating that Ofcom had reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom had contravened, and continued to contravene, GC 17.5 in that it has failed to Adopt or otherwise use telephone numbers efficiently and effectively.

The Notification set out the steps that Broadcast Telecom should take in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.5 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, to demonstrate that the relevant Telephone Numbers have been implemented in BT’s network and demonstrate to Ofcom that the relevant Telephone Numbers are being used efficiently and effectively.

Broadcast Telecom was given 14 days in which to make written representations to Ofcom about the matters set out in the Notification. Broadcast Telecom did not provide Ofcom with any written representations by the Deadline.

Broadcast Telecom continues to retain the Telephone Numbers which have been allocated to it by Ofcom. Ofcom is satisfied that Broadcast Telecom has ceased to secure, and is not securing, the adoption or otherwise efficient and effective use of those Telephone Numbers. On this basis, Ofcom is satisfied that Broadcast Telecom has contravened, and is continuing to contravene, GC 17.5.

Therefore, on 20 May 2016 Ofcom issued Broadcast Telecom with a Confirmation Decision under section 96C of the Act.

Ofcom has confirmed that Broadcast Telecom failed to confirm compliance and have now, therefore, withdrawn all of the numbers allocated to them.

The non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision is available in the related items section.

End of update note

Update note: 4 April 2016

Following our finding of Broadcast Telecom Limited’s (“Broadcast Telecom”) non-compliance with the requirements of GC17.13, we have also investigated its compliance with obligations under GC17.5. Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom has contravened GC 17.5 of the General Conditions. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to Broadcast Telecom under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom has contravened, and continues to contravene, GC17.5 in that it has failed (and continues to fail) to secure that telephone numbers allocated to it are adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently.

Broadcast Telecom now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification.

End of update note

Update note: 21 March 2016

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision issued to Broadcast Telecom on 4 March 2016, has now been prepared and can be found under the related items.

End of update note

Update note: 7 March 2016

On 3 February 2016, Ofcom issued a Notification under section 96A of the Act ("the Notification") to Broadcast Telecom Limited (“Broadcast Telecom”), stating that Ofcom had reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom had contravened, and continued to contravene, GC 17.13 in that it had failed to pay Ofcom the applicable Annual Number Charge imposed on it for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 Charging Years, in accordance with that GC.

The Notification set out the steps that Broadcast Telecom should take in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.13 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, namely to pay Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges.

Broadcast Telecom was given 14 days in which to make written representations to Ofcom about the matters set out in the Notification. Broadcast Telecom did not provide Ofcom with any written representations by the Deadline, nor has it paid Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges.

Broadcast Telecom continues to retain the allocation of Specified Geographic Numbers for which the Annual Number Charge for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 Charging Years were imposed. Despite Ofcom’s repeated attempts to secure payment from Broadcast Telecom of this Annual Number Charge, and despite Ofcom issuing the Notification to Broadcast Telecom, it has failed to respond and/or make such payment. On this basis, Ofcom is satisfied that Broadcast Telecom has contravened, and is continuing to contravene, GC 17.13.

Therefore, on 4 March 2016 Ofcom issued Broadcast Telecom with a Confirmation Decision under section 96C of the Act.

Ofcom has confirmed the imposition of requirements on Broadcast Telecom in accordance with the Notification. This means that, in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.13 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, Broadcast Telecom must pay to Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges forthwith, and in any event no later than by 18 March 2016.

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision is currently being prepared and will be published shortly.

End of update note

Update note: 5 February 2016

Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom Limited (Broadcast Telecom), has contravened GC17.13 of the General Conditions. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to Broadcast Telecom under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that Broadcast Telecom has contravened, and continues to contravene, GC17.13 by failing to pay Ofcom the applicable annual number charge imposed on it for the 2013/14 and 2014/15 charging years, in accordance with GC17.13.

Broadcast Telecom now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification.

End of update note

Update note: 21 January 2016

Ofcom has decided to extend the scope of this enforcement programme to include compliance with GC 17.5.

This General Condition was also imposed pursuant to section 58 of the Communications Act 2003, and requires CPs (where they have been allocated telephone numbers by Ofcom) to secure that those numbers are adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently. Accordingly, if a CP has been included in our enforcement programme for non-payment of geographic number charges, we may also (where appropriate) seek to gather further information regarding use of those numbers to assist us in determining whether they have been adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently.

Ofcom has also decided to extend the scope of this enforcement programme to investigate CPs that Ofcom has reason to believe are liable to pay annual geographic number charges for 2014/15, but have failed to do so.

Update note: 12 November 2015

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision issued to Danemere on 23 October 2015, has now been prepared and can be found under the related items.

End of update note

Update note: 27 October

On 7 October 2015, Ofcom issued a Notification under section 96A of the Act ("the Notification") to Danemere, stating that Ofcom had reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere had contravened, and was continuing to contravene, GC 17.5 in that it had failed to secure that the Telephone Numbers which had been allocated to it had been adopted or were otherwise being used effectively and efficiently in accordance with that GC.

GC 17.5 requires that:

“Where Telephone Numbers have been Allocated to the Communications Provider, that provider shall secure that such Telephone Numbers are Adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently.”

The Notification set out the steps that Danemere should take in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.5 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, namely to demonstrate to Ofcom forthwith and, in any event, no later than 30 October 2015 that the numbers allocated to Danemere have been adopted and are being used effectively and efficiently. Danemere was given until 21 October 2015 in which to make written representations to Ofcom about the matters set out in the Notification.

Danemere did not provide Ofcom with any written representations by the deadline, nor does it appear that Danemere has taken the steps required.

Danemere continues to retain the Telephone Numbers which have been allocated to it by Ofcom. As set out in the Notification however, to the extent that Danemere may, at any stage, have adopted those Telephone Numbers, Ofcom is satisfied that Danemere has ceased to secure, and is not securing, the adoption or otherwise effective and efficient use of those Telephone Numbers. On that basis, Ofcom is satisfied that Danemere has contravened, and is continuing to contravene, GC 17.5.

Therefore, on 23 October 2015 Ofcom issued Danemere with a Confirmation Decision under section 96C of the Act. Ofcom has confirmed the imposition of requirements on Danemere in accordance with the Notification. This means that, in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.5 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, Danemere must demonstrate to Ofcom forthwith and, in any event, no later than 30 October 2015 that the numbers allocated to Danemere have been adopted and are being used effectively and efficiently.

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision is currently being prepared and will be published shortly.

End of update note

Update note 2: 8 October

Following our finding of Danemere Street Creative Limited’s (“Danemere”) non-compliance with the requirements of GC17.13, we have also investigated its compliance with obligations under GC17.5. Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere, has contravened GC 17.5 of the General Conditions. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to Danemere under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere has contravened, and continues to contravene, GC17.5 in that it has failed (and continues to fail) to secure that telephone numbers allocated to it are adopted or otherwise used effectively and efficiently.

Danemere now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification.

End of update note

Update note 1: 8 October 2015

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision issued to Danemere on 16 September 2015, has now been prepared and can be found under the related items. Confidential information has been redacted and redactions are indicated by redacted.

End of update note

Update note: 17 September 2015

On 27 August 2015, Ofcom issued a Notification under section 96A of the Act ("the Notification") to Danemere Street Creative Limited (“Danemere”), stating that Ofcom had reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere had contravened, and continued to contravene, GC 17.13 in that it had failed to pay Ofcom the applicable Annual Number Charge imposed on it for the 2013/14 Charging Year, in accordance with that GC.

GC 17.13 requires that:

“The Communications Provider shall pay to Ofcom any applicable Annual Number Charge within 14 days of receipt of an invoice from Ofcom.”

The Notification set out the step that Danemere should take in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.13 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, namely to pay Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges forthwith and, in any event, no later than 25 September 2015. Danemere was given 14 days in which to make written representations to Ofcom about the matters set out in the Notification.

Danemere did not provide Ofcom with any written representations by the Deadline, nor has it paid Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges.

Danemere continues to retain the allocation of Specified Geographic Numbers for which the Annual Number Charge for the 2013/14 Charging Year was imposed. Despite Ofcom’s repeated attempts to secure payment from Danemere of this Annual Number Charge, and despite Ofcom issuing the Notification to Danemere, Danemere has failed to respond and/or make such payment. On this basis, Ofcom is satisfied that Danemere has contravened, and is continuing to contravene, GC 17.13.

Therefore, on 16 September 2015 Ofcom issued Danemere with a Confirmation Decision under section 96C of the Act.

Ofcom has confirmed the imposition of requirements on Danemere in accordance with the Notification. This means that, in order to comply with the requirements of GC 17.13 and to remedy the consequences of the contravention, Danemere must pay to Ofcom the outstanding geographic number charges forthwith, and in any event no later than by 25 September 2015.

A non-confidential version of the Confirmation Decision is currently being prepared and will be published shortly.

End of update note

Update note: 28 August 2015

Ofcom has determined that there are reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere Street Creative Limited (Danemere), has contravened GC17.13 of the General Conditions. Ofcom has therefore issued a Notification to Danemere under section 96A of the Communications Act 2003.

Specifically, Ofcom has reasonable grounds for believing that Danemere has contravened, and continues to contravene, GC17.13 by failing to pay Ofcom the applicable annual number charge imposed on it for the 2013/14 charging year, in accordance with GC17.13.
Danemere now has an opportunity to make representations to Ofcom on the matters contained in the Notification.

End of update note

On 18 July 2012, Ofcom published a Statement entitled Promoting efficient use of geographic numbers in which we set out, among other things, our decision to put in place a pilot scheme to charge CPs for geographic numbers they have been allocated in 30 area codes.

To give effect to this pilot scheme, we imposed a general condition pursuant to section 58(1)(g) of the Communications Act 2003, which requires CPs to pay Ofcom an annual number charge, determined in accordance with GC 17.15, in respect of certain geographic numbers they have been allocated.

The pilot scheme commenced on 1 April 2013. The first charging year ended on 31 March 2014.

We have opened an enforcement programme to assess a small number of CPs’ compliance with GC17.13. As part of this programme, we may initiate separate investigations into the compliance of named CPs and, where relevant, take appropriate enforcement action. Where we do so, this will be announced via our Competition and Consumer Enforcement Bulletin.

Case Leader: Carole Taylor (email: Carole.Taylor@ofcom.org.uk)
Case Reference: 
CW/01152/02/15