News story

CAT refers leased line price control appeals to CMA

The CAT has referred 2 telecoms appeals to the CMA concerning the amount BT can charge other providers for purchasing leased line services.

Optical fibres

CityFibre Infrastructure Holdings plc (CityFibre) and TalkTalk Telecom Group Plc (TalkTalk) both appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) following Ofcom’s final decision in its Business Connectivity Market Review in April this year.

Leased lines are high-quality, dedicated, point-to-point data transmission services used by businesses and providers of communications services. Leased lines are most commonly rented by businesses or larger organisations from communications providers who, in turn, may purchase wholesale leased line services from BT.

Under the 2003 Communications Act, if decisions by Ofcom are appealed to the CAT and include a price control matter, then this matter must be referred to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for determination. Both companies have therefore sought a reference to the CMA of the price control matters in their respective appeals.

BT has also appealed against Ofcom’s decision on non-price-control matters so its appeal will be dealt with by the CAT.

The CMA determination will be made by a group of independent panel members supported by a case team of CMA staff. The CMA has until 31 March 2017 to send its final determination to the CAT. The CAT will then include this determination in its judgment alongside the other issues it has considered as part of the appeals.

Further details on the CityFibre and TalkTalk appeals are available on the CAT website and on the CMA case page.

The Competition Commission previously determined an appeal by Vodafone and Verizon about leased line charges in 2013.

Published 18 November 2016