01 July 1998

BT HAS BEEN SEVERELY RAPPED over the knuckles by telecoms watchdog Oftel for abuse of customer dialling information in a sales drive for Click, its new pay-as-you-go Internet access service. Click, already under fire from competing ISPs as an example of BT’s misuse of its market dominance, is again in hot water. BT has mined data showing the Internet access call patterns made by its telephony customers to their current ISPs, using this information to flag high-level users. The customers [including Debrief’s editor] were then called by BT telemarketing staff in an attempt to poach their Internet business to its new service. Oftel has moved with unusual speed in the matter, having received the first complaints only ten days ago. A recalcitrant BT agrees with the regulator that this was a serious breach of the fair trading conditions in its licence and has ceased the practice. The wary watchdog has already warned BT that it might issue an order against it if the offending behaviour is repeated.