BT ordered to cut internet charges

Liz Vaughan-Adams
Friday 10 January 2014 03:01

The telecoms giant BT was yesterday ordered to cut the cost of its internet access product in a move that could see 4 million consumers getting cheaper Internet packages.

The telecoms watchdog Oftel yesterday ordered BT to cut the cost of its wholesale unmetered internet access prices by 8.5 per cent after carrying out an indus- try review.

"This reduction means that operators can now buy capacity from BT cheaper than before. Operators have the opportunity to pass these savings on to ISPs [internet service providers] and through them to consumers," said David Edmonds, the director general of telecommunications.

Other telecoms operators buy wholesale internet capacity from BT and use it to provide unmetered internet access directly to consumers.

More than 4 million UK households use some form of unmetered internet access, where consumers pay a flat monthly tariff, to get online, Oftel estimates.

"Oftel must ensure that the charges BT make to other operators for internet capacity on its network are fair and reflect BT's costs. Until now, Oftel has had to use estimates to assess BT's charges, but new information on BT's internet traffic volumes is now available, enabling Oftel to reassess these charges," he said.

Internet Service Providers including both Freeserve and AOL were yesterday reluctant to speculate on whether the move would cause them to lower charges.

The move came just a day after Oftel said it could not order that BT be broken up and that the issue was not on its radar screens in any case.

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