THE telecoms watchdog today said rivals should not be made to stump up higher charges to share the burden of filling BT’s mammoth pension deficit.
Ofcom said it had not seen any compelling evidence that would justify changes to prices set for BT’s wholesale Openreach service to take account of funding for its pension black-hole, estimated at £7.5 billion.
The regulator revealed last December it was looking at an option to make firms such as TalkTalk and BSkyB pay up to 4% extra for using wholesale telephony from BT to help cover pension deficit payments.
It was feared consumers would face higher charges if the increases were passed on by operators.
But Ofcom said: "At this stage, Ofcom has not received compelling evidence from stakeholders which would justify a change in approach.
"Therefore, in this second consultation, Ofcom proposes that the current approach to the treatment of BT’s pension costs be maintained."
Ofcom currently includes ongoing pension service costs, but excludes payments made by BT in respect of its pension fund deficit.
The inquiry was launched last year after BT’s deficit soared and the regulator became concerned the scale of its pension payments could affect its costs.