BT has been slapped with a record £42 million fine from regulator Ofcom for delays in installing high-speed lines. The company will also have to pay £300 million in compensation to corporate customers.
According to Ofcom, BT’s Openreach division (that has now been separated into its own independent company) had cut compensation payments to providers for delays in installing lines between early 2013 and late 2014.
Clive Selley, Openreach CEO, said: “We apologise wholeheartedly for the mistakes Openreach made in the past when processing orders for a number of high-speed business connections.
“This shouldn’t have happened and we fully accept Ofcom’s findings."
The company says that it has responded by investing in "significant changes to training, systems and practices for handling Ethernet orders and the Deemed Consent process," and that it will contact all the affected providers to offer them "a full and fair settlement".
Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s investigations director, said: "These high-speed lines are a vital part of this country’s digital backbone. We found BT broke our rules by failing to pay other telecoms companies proper compensation when these services were not provided on time.
"The size of our fine reflects how important these rules are to protect competition and, ultimately, consumers and businesses."
Essentially, this all boils down to BT’s inability to fulfill its obligation to roll out high-speed lines within 30 days or provide "appropriate notice" otherwise.
Ofcom also fined BT an extra £300,000 for failing to provide all the information requested.