Media regulator Ofcom has launched an investigation over Vodafone's allegations that BT deprived the company of high-capacity ethernet services and also failed to offer compensation.
The complaint concerns the BT's use of the Deemed Consent Mechanism in relation to the provision of certain ethernet services through its contract with Vodafone.
This states that BT has significant market power concerning the provision of ethernet services and must therefore provide them "as soon as reasonably practicable and on fair and reasonable terms" and to publish and adhere to reference offers for the provision of such services.
However, Vodafone is arguing that BT has been using these mechanisms to "inappropriately" delay service provision, which has in turn detrimentally affected Vodafone.
These delays are something of a grey area, as it could cover a number of reasons, including infrastructure damage, street work approval, asbestos disposal and other issues.
Despite this, Vodafone claims that service provision has been disproportionately slow, particularly between September 2012 and January 2014, when the claim covers.
Ofcom's initial statement on the matter reads: "Vodafone alleges BT has inappropriately used the Deemed Consent Mechanism in the relevant CSAs.
"Vodafone alleges that this has resulted in Openreach failing to meet its service level agreements on multiple occasions, by delaying provision of its ethernet services without Vodafone’s consent, and by failing to compensate Vodafone for these delays in accordance with the CSA."
After commercial negotiations failed to settle the dispute. the regulator will now conduct a formal investigation into the matter in an attempt to come to a resolution.
In the meantime, Ofcom is inviting stakeholders to supply any relevant information by 23rd September, as it gathers evidence to make a decision, though that is not expected until the end of 2015 at the earliest.