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Broadband speed crackdown launched by Ofcom

Customers have the power, as Ofcom updates its code of practice against slow broadband speeds.

By April Slattery

Ofcom is tightening the reins on broadband providers even further by setting a final deadline to reach speed service obligations.

The UK Watchdog seems to have got to the end of its tether with broadband providers, as it sets a deadline of just 30 days for providers to get their services up to speed if they fall below the minimum requirement.

If providers fail to improve the speed of their service within this time period, they must allow customers ‘walk away’ penalty-free. The right to exit the contract is a new rule implemented by the watchdog, because currently providers have an unlimited time period to resolve the issue before letting customers leave.

Ofcom crackdown on broadband providers for slack speeds

Providers will have 30 days to fix the service speeds.

The aim of the updated code of practice is to ensure providers are offering ‘realistic’ speed estimations to customers, as well as minimum speed guarantees when selling the service. Additionally, it provides better customer satisfaction for buyers as they will not incur the penalty fee if they decide to leave on the speed service basis.

Ofcom’s new updates will also apply to phone and TV services bought at the same time as broadband from providers. This means customers will not be tied into contracts if speeds fall below the expectations.

“Broadband customers must know what they’re signing up to,” Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said. “These protections will close the gap between broadband speeds people are sold, and what they actually receive. And to give people extra confidence we are making it easier to walk away – without penalty – if companies fail to deliver.”

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To effectively implement the updates, providers must make changes to their systems to develop new methods of testing speeds to ensure they are up to scratch. Additionally, providers must train staff to ensure they are offering a legitimate service.

Ofcom’s update to the code of practice will be implemented in a year’s time, on the 1st March 2019.

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