Ofcom's rules for faster broadband and telephone repairs by Openreach come into force on 1st July (next Tuesday). The new rules state that the majority of broadband and phone faults will have to be fixed within 48 hours or Openreach could face sanctions or fines. We first heard of these new rules in December, when Ofcom proposed them. Moves to boost superfast broadband competition in the UK are also to be implemented.
BT's Openreach installs and maintains connections used for broadband and telecommunications for BT and a large number of competing providers. Ofcom's new rules aim to push the network support company to provide more timely repairs for customers who are suffering from poor service or connection problems.
The new rules
Ofcom will implement the following rules from Tuesday onwards;
- 70 per cent of faults must be fixed within 48 hours of reporting
- 55 per cent of new line install requests must get an appointment within 12 days (rising to 8 0per cent by 2016)
- Openreach must be clearer about timescales
- Openreach must publish quarterly performance reports on the web
The above rules can be relaxed if Openreach service is hindered by factors such as extreme weather conditions.
Ofcom's official guidance (PDF, 599 pages) suggests that any penalties for non-compliance of the above will vary depending upon:
- the extent to which targets are missed,
- the duration of problems,
- any aggravating factors, and
- the frequency of any breaches.
Fibre supplier switching made cheaper and easier
Ofcom also announced it is implementing some changes to boost superfast broadband competition. Following a European Commission review, the following changes in favour of the customer, will be implemented:
- The wholesale charge when a user changes superfast broadband provider is to be reduced from £50 to £11.
- The minimum contract length will be reduced from one year to one month, for greater contract flexibility.
As you can imagine the above points should help end users find and change to better and more competitive fibre broadband contract offerings. I'm moving house soon, to an area with superfast broadband, hopefully these changes will make shopping for a provider even more competitive.