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Standard User edwincluck
(member) Tue 10-Nov-15 00:40:37
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Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


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Back in August, Vodafone lodged an official complaint against BT. Alleging that since 2011, BT's infrastructure unit Openreach has used arbitrary and spurious excuses to delay provision of wholesale ethernet services. Services which BT must provide to rival operators. Delays which Vodafone argues have sabotaged the roll-out of its 4G cellular network; as well as its own fibre broadband services which launched in June.

BT denies Vodafone's allegations. Counter-claiming that delays to provisioned work fall largely under the terms of "deemed consent"; delays which BT can justify as unavoidable. Vodafone disputes this, alleging that BT has engineered loopholes. Arguing that many of the grounds cited for those delays were, in fact, of BT's own making. Further, that the delays were spurious; deliberately introduced to undermine the functional operation of Vodafone and other rivals. Ultimately damaging competition in the sector.

This week, Ofcom issued its provisional conclusions to Vodafone's complaints. Determining that in five out of seven categories which Ofcom assessed, BT was found in breach of its obligations. Failing "to provide its services on fair and reasonable terms; as soon as reasonably practicable; and on such terms as Ofcom may from time to time direct"

Ofcom has invited all parties to respond by late-November before issuing its final conclusion. If Vodafone's complaints are upheld, BT could be forced to pay millions of pounds in compensation. According to The Times, Vodafone also wants the regulator to take greater oversight of ethernet services, preventing Openreach in the future from choosing which delays are beyond its control.

From The Times ("BT accused of hiding broadband failures; Ofcom opens investigation into Openreach delays"; 10 Sept 2015):
Vodafone has calculated that 71 per cent of all orders for ethernet products completed by Openreach were delayed, with new fibre builds rife with service issues between 2011 and 2014.

Ofcom said that only 45 per cent of all ethernet commissions were connected on time last year, although that number could include legitimate delays to installations.

The issue has wider implications for the industry, with calls for Openreach to be split from BT reaching fever pitch

This feels all too familiar. Another case of déjà vu in which costly initial overheads, and delaying 'choke-points' have been artificially introduced by BT into its service commissioning process. Choke-points which can then be used in plausibly deniable fashion to stall the roll-out of services by rival competitors. Standard operating procedure for BT, some may argue.

It's perhaps insightful that Vodafone is the protagonist in this latest round of complaints against BT. The cellular operator is also leading the calls for Openreach to be split-off from the wider BT Group. Virgin Media has since dropped out of that fight; withdrawing its own objections towards Openreach remaining part of BT. Cautious, perhaps, that its own cable infrastructure could potentially fall under focus for the same reasons.

Vodafone has also been linked as a potential suitor for TalkTalk, the embattled fixed-wire telco. In proposals that would see the two operators combining assets to become a major competitor in the 'quad-play' market. offering cellular, fixed-wire, internet and pay-tv.

TalkTalk is particularly vulnerable to takeover; its reputation damaged by a high-profile if minor breach of its customer account details. The company's share price has almost halved in recent months. Falling from 408.8p in early June to just 214.25p at close today.

With Vodafone beefing up its rhetoric against BT, perhaps mindful of that possible buy-out of TalkTalk. Through its 2012 acquisition of fixed-wire infrastructure from C&W, and through the launch of its own fibre broadband services, intending to become a potent force of its own in the lucrative "quad-play" market. By market-share, measured by combined fixed-wire and cellular customers, potentially becoming BT's nearest rival. BT has already secured preliminary approval for its acquisition of cellular operator EE, and launched its own streaming sports package late 2013.

Any thoughts?

Edited by edwincluck (Tue 10-Nov-15 01:19:54)

Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 10-Nov-15 10:05:52
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: edwincluck] [link to this post]
 
Yes

Why aren't they looking at 2015 data? And why not complain back in 2011? 2012? 2013? 2014? To the same extent.

Openreach line seems to be that Ethernet was a problem but things have improved, hence the new targets and measurement metrics imposed by Ofcom in the last year or two.

The OTA2 tracks many metrics if really interested in seeing how Ethernet delivery is working or not.

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User WWWombat
(knowledge is power) Wed 11-Nov-15 13:55:32
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: edwincluck] [link to this post]
 
Where else was this published?

It has the style of a piece for a magazine, paper, or article somewhere. It doesn't look like something written solely for this forum.


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Standard User smouty
(regular) Fri 13-Nov-15 13:31:01
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: edwincluck] [link to this post]
 
Why are Vodafone complaining about legacy copper install anyway. I don't see why they couldn't provide unlimited broadband over 4G.
I guess as they only are expected to have annual profits in the £12bil range it might hurt their bottom line.
Standard User edwincluck
(member) Sun 15-Nov-15 04:20:42
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: WWWombat] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by WWWombat:
Where else was this published?

It has the style of a piece for a magazine, paper, or article somewhere. It doesn't look like something written solely for this forum.

Huh? It's an 'exclusive' for this forum! If it's been published elsewhere please let me know!

--

Edited by edwincluck (Sun 15-Nov-15 04:32:39)

Standard User leexgx
(committed) Sun 15-Nov-15 10:33:24
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: smouty] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by smouty:
Why are Vodafone complaining about legacy copper install anyway. I don't see why they couldn't provide unlimited broadband over 4G.
I guess as they only are expected to have annual profits in the £12bil range it might hurt their bottom line.

they have fiber installs not copper (ethernet is not just copper)

Standard User smouty
(regular) Tue 17-Nov-15 09:35:57
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: leexgx] [link to this post]
 
The point was that Vodafone are in a position to provide BB via 4G without reliance on BT/Openreach be it copper or fibre.
Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 17-Nov-15 10:16:39
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Re: Dirty tricks from BT? Or sour grapes from rivals?


[re: smouty] [link to this post]
 
In case people have missed it Vodafone is back into the home broadband game too in the UK, and is selling GEA-FTTC and ADSL2+

The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
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