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Statement on BT’s request for exemption from its Undertakings related to the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games

Statement published 13|05|11

Please note that in April 2012 BT notified to Ofcom some changes to the list of Games locations and the Local Exchanges supporting these locations. The lists of Games locations and Local Exchanges have been updated in the Annex 3 published below as a separate pdf file.

Summary

1.1 This Statement sets out Ofcom's conclusions in relation to a request by BT for an exemption from its Undertakings.

1.2 On 22 September 2005 BT offered, and Ofcom accepted, a set of undertakings pursuant to section 154 of the Enterprise Act ("the Undertakings"). The Undertakings addressed issues that had been raised by Ofcom as it considered whether to refer certain markets to the Competition Commission in relation to the provision of fixed telecommunications. The Undertakings were accepted by Ofcom in lieu of making such a reference at that time. Ofcom's reasons for accepting the Undertakings, together with the Undertakings themselves, are set out in full in the document entitled Final statements on the Strategic Review of Telecommunications, and undertakings in lieu of a reference under the Enterprise Act 2002.

1.3 The Undertakings included mechanisms to allow for variations to be agreed by BT and Ofcom and for BT to request exemptions from the Undertakings. This Statement relates to one such request for exemption in respect of services provided to support the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games ("the London 2012 Games").

1.4 In July 2005, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to London. Following a competitive tender, in 2008 the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) appointed BT as the provider of communication services to the London 2012 Games throughout the United Kingdom.

1.5 As part of its appointment, as well as providing services during the London 2012 Games themselves, BT is required to participate in a period of test events. This period of testing is currently scheduled to run from 30 May 2011 until 8 May 2012. The 2012 London Olympic Games then commence on 25 July 2012, and run until the end of the Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012.

1.6 BT sent a delegation to Vancouver in February 2010 to observe the Winter Olympic Games as part of its preparations for the London 2012 Games and based on its observations in Vancouver and the testing requirements due to commence at the end of May, BT has submitted a request for exemption from certain of its Undertakings obligations. This exemption will allow, in exceptional circumstances, for BT to use processes other than the standard Equivalence of Inputs (EOI) processes. It will also allow for a certain number of engineers from Openreach and some other BT divisions to work cross-functionally.

1.7 We have decided to agree to the request. This is because of its restricted scope in terms of the activities it allows and the timeframe over which it is valid. It is our view that this limits any potential adverse effects on competition or on other communications providers. In contrast, we consider that not agreeing to the request may have adverse impacts on the provision of services in support of the London 2012 Games which could be to the detriment of the wider public in general, given the very special nature of the event.

Please note that on 18/08/2011 BT has notified to Ofcom two additional Local Exchanges supporting the Games locations previously notified. The list of Local Exchanges has been updated in the Annex 3 published below as a separate pdf file.

Please note that in December 2012 BT notified Ofcom of an additional test event to take place on 21 May 2012. BTs notification letter is published below.

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