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BT hit with record fines
British Telecom has been fined £42million because it has broken competition rules in the UK internet provider market. Ofcom, the UK’s telecom regulator, says that this is the largest fine they have handed down. The fines have been ordered because Ofcom found that Openreach, BT’s internet infrastructure company, had not paid proper compensation to companies it had kept waiting. Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom's investigations director, said: "These high-speed lines are a vital part of this country's digital backbone. "We found BT broke our rules by failing to pay other telecoms companies proper compensation when these services were not provided on time. "The size of our fine reflects how important these rules are to protect competition and, ultimately, consumers and businesses." BT’s Openreach is supposed to provide high speed ethernet cables for big businesses within 30 days, or give reasonable notice. Ofcom decided that in 2013 and 2014 it did not do so. As a result, it will also have to pay compensation of £300 million to affected firms. A further fine of £300,000 has been levied because BT did not provide Ofcom with all the information requested. "We have powers to compel companies to provide us information and it's important that that information is provided to us both on time and in complete manner," said Mr Rasmussen. "We found that sometimes there were delays, sometimes information was incomplete and that obviously has an impact on how quickly we can do our job." Division of company In early March, BT agreed that Openreach should become a separate company in order to improve service and to make the competition position clearer and "to serve all of its customers equally". BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said Ofcom's investigation "revealed we fell short of the high standards" for serving telecoms providers. "We take this issue very seriously and we have put in place measures, controls and people to prevent it happening again," he said. Openreach chief executive Clive Selley said the company "apologised wholeheartedly" for the problems.
What is Ofcom? Who are BT? Why are BT being fined? The text mentions £300,000 - £42 million - £300 million – what do these figures refer to? Do you have an organisation like BT or Ofcom in your country? What powers do they have?
Paragraph 2: what happened first the fines or not paying compensation? How does the grammar tell you that?
Highlight for solutions
The fines came second. This is logical, but note the use of the past perfect, ‘had not paid’. The past perfect places this event before other events in the discussion.
Find these words or phrases in the text. Can you use them in a sentence?
to hit with to punish to levy to set a tax or a fine compensation money paid to say sorry, or acknowledge faults to fall short to do less than expected to compel to make someone do something digital backbone important digital infrastructure is supposed to should do something but doesn’t always