Ofcom to Probe BT's Power Over UK Local Connections

02 January 2004

Shares in the British telecommunications quasi-monopoly BT Group dipped marginally on Wednesday as it became known that Ofcom, the new telecoms and broadcast media supra-regulator, is to undertake a formal investigation into BT's dominance of connections between local exchanges and homes.

Of the 24.44 million UK households, over 95% have a telephone. Less than four million of these are connected by suppliers other than BT -- primarily the US-owned duo NTL and Telewest. Says Ofcom: "We will want to see whether there is scope for fair and effective competition in this area, and how we can develop the best outcome for consumers."

But BT shares recovered from their short-lived half-penny blip to finish a [short] day's trading at the same level they started. The true impact of the Ofcom investigation is more likely to be apparent today, Friday, when normal post-holiday trading resumes.

Ofcom took up its powers on December 29, replacing no fewer than five now-defunct regulatory bodies.

Data sourced from: mad.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff