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CMA to review BT whinge over superfast broadband price setting

TalkTalk has also moaned that the rules don't go far enough

Blighty's competition watchdog is to review an appeal by BT against new rules designed to prevent the telco from setting unfair wholesale fibre prices for its rivals.

In March last year the regulator Ofcom ruled that BT must maintain a sufficient margin between its wholesale and retail superfast broadband charges in order to allow its rival providers to profitably match its prices.

BT is the largest retail provider of fibre broadband services over its Openreach network, but it is legally required to allow other operators to use its network to sell superfast broadband to consumers under a process known as "virtual unbundled local access".

In its appeal submitted to the Competition Appeal Tribunal BT said: "The market analysis on which the reasoning of the Decision rests in manifestly inadequate and wrong in principle, rendering the decision unlawful."

In a separate appeal, TalkTalk moaned that the new rules to not go far enough. It claimed that under the changes BT would still be able to apply a "margin squeeze to individual market segments or operators, thereby distorting competition."

A CMA panel is to review both appeals by BT and TalkTalk. The tribunal will then include this determination in its judgment alongside the other issues it has considered as part of the appeals.

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom is currently deciding whether or not to order BT to sell Openreach. ®

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