New Ofcom ruling makes it easier than ever before to dump substandard broadband contracts
Consumers unhappy with their broadband speeds will soon be able to leave their contracts early following a new ruling from Ofcom.
The industry watchdog has announced as set of new measure aiming, ‘to better empower and protect customers’, which includes new rules giving more freedom in their choice of broadband provider.
This means that customers will have the freedom to break their contracts with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and change suppliers whenever they wish, should speeds fall below acceptable levels.
Time for change
uling The new standards form part of a strengthened Code of Practice on broadband speeds, created by Ofcom, with the UK’s largest providers: BT, EE, KC in Hull, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
From now on, new customers signing up will be able to walk away from providers during the whole term of the contract, not just the first three months, if they suffer problems that cannot be resolved.
Ofcom is also making it much simpler and smoother for customers to change between landline and broadband providers who use the Openreach network – such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.
From June 20, a new ‘one touch’ process will place the responsibility for the switch in the hands of the company the customer is moving to.
And from next month, Ofcom will also begin a similar process aimed at making it easier for customers to switch mobile provider.
The news was announced by Ofcom’s new chief executive, Sharon White, in her first major address since taking over the role in March.
“When Ofcom was established, access to a reliable internet connection and mobile phone was a ‘nice to have’. Now it is essential to the functioning of the economy, to the way people work and live their lives,” she told a Which? conference today.
“Improving delivery to consumers doesn’t just fall at the feet of the regulator. The delivery of first class communications services is primarily the responsibility of providers.”
This should include a greater supply of superfast broadband connections across the country as part of a government push to target 95 percent coverage by 2017, mainly through initiatives like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which provides money to local authorities to extend fibre to areas not covered by commercial deployments.
“Our job is to ensure that markets work for consumers and citizens, principally by encouraging competition,” White added.
“Where markets don’t work well enough – or where competition alone isn’t enough to secure good outcomes for consumers – then we have powers to intervene.”
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