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Ofcom demands BT fixes faulty broadband connections within two days

Under new rules to aimed to achieve faster line repairs and installations
Fri Dec 20 2013, 16:17
An Ofcom logo

FAULTY BROADBAND AND TELEPHONE LINES must be fixed within two days, propose fresh rules from Ofcom.

The telecoms regulator said customers will benefit from faster line repairs and installations under the new guidelines.

"The requirements would mean the large majority of consumers and businesses encountering a fault with their telephone or broadband service must see it repaired within two working days; while the large majority of those requiring a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days," Ofcom explained.

Ofcom's measures would also require Openreach, the company which installs and maintains connections to BT's network on behalf of competing telecoms providers, to meet new minimum performance standards.

"Should it fail to meet the new targets over a 12-month period, Openreach would face sanctions from Ofcom, which could include fines," Ofcom said.

For the rules to work, Ofcom is proposing that Openreach will complete around 80 percent of fault repairs within one to two working days of being notified, irrespective of factors such as severe weather conditions.

"[We will also] ensure it adheres to these new standards across the country, by meeting the requirements in each of 10 geographic divisions of the UK and provide data on repairs and installations that are not completed within this timeframe," Ofcom added.

This information, which would be publicly available, would allow Ofcom to monitor Openreach's performance closely and intervene further if required.

"The targets are designed to ensure better service for telephone and broadband customers in future, while also avoiding any significant effect on prices," Ofcom said.

Ofcom's proposals are part of a consultation, which closes on 13 February 2014. The regulator has said it will announce its final decisions in spring next year, with the aim to meet the requirements in full by April 2016.

Earlier this week Ofcom named and shamed BT, EE and Talktalk, as the country's most complained-about networks.

The results were part of Ofcom's latest user satisfaction report, released last Friday to let consumers know which companies are likely to drive them up the wall.

BT ranked as the most complained about company offering pay TV services. Ofcom said the firm received 0.56 complaints per 1,000 customers, far more than other providers. Sky received an average of 0.02 complaints per 1,000 customers in the third quarter, and Virgin Media 0.05. µ


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