BT’s freedom to cut broadband costs was curtailed today after telecoms regulator Ofcom said it must ensure margins on retail products are sufficient to ensure competition.
Most ISPs rely on BT’s copper and fibre network for the services they offer end users and buy access on a wholesale basis.
Rivals claim BT unfairly competes by failing to maintain a fair margin between the wholesale prices it charges them and the prices it charges domestic end users.
Last year TalkTalk said this ‘squeeze’ limits the prices they and other rivals can charge end customers of they’re to remain competitive.
Ofcom has concluded “that BT is maintaining a sufficient margin” but says it will regularly review the situation and that new rules will limit BT’s ability to reduce its margins in future.
The rules will also ensure BT’s end user prices accurately reflect its costs, including the cost of content rights for its BT Sport channels which are currently free to all broadband customers.
BT says it is not opposed to Ofcom’s tests but disagrees that sports costs should be included.