Not a good week for BT & Partners.
Monday’s news of fines by Ofcom and promises of compensation for wholesale customers included a supplement for regulatory obstruction.
The confirmation today that the long-term downward trend in complaints about Broadband and Phone-lines has stalled will not ease the pain.
BT shareholders, however, reacted positively to the fine for historic sins and were not much put off by an additional censure on broadband billing bloomers at subsidiary Plusnet. Perhaps, like Tesco, the sense of relief at the settlement (avoiding further litigation) and factored-in discounts limited the financial damage.
Less easily dismissed is the reputational damage. Industry commentator Telecom TV didn’t mince words: “In words we can all understand, BT is simply not to be trusted to supply correct numbers”
PS – It would seem that issues with ‘correct numbers’ is not confined to BT. The Register, today, reports that Virgin Media has found that its Q4 broadband figures were overstated. Earlier in the year BT restated its results after discovery of errors in an Italian subsidiary and, across the industry, speculation is rife that these issues may have arisen as unintended consequences of pressure driven by performance-related bonuses.