BT warns Ofcom of legal challenge ahead of ruling

TELECOMS giant BT has warned it could sue regulator Ofcom, after it refused to allow a rise in wholesale fees to rivals to help repair BT’s onerous pension deficit.

An interim ruling in July by the regulator denied BT the opportunity to raise charges on its Openreach business, the subsidiary used by rivals to access BT’s network. If onfirmed in December by Ofcom, the operator could pursue a legal challenge.

Companies in other sectors are allowed to raise wholesale charges to rivals in order to address pension deficits, including in the gas and electricity market.

Worries over BT’s pension pot were raised by the Pensions Regulator in February over the company’s plans to remedy its deficit, which stood at £9bn, according to a December 2008 actuarial valuation.