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March 17, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

Cable & Wireless Plc’s Mercury Communications will compensate its business customers from September if it fails to meet installation deadlines – but the announcement was double-edged, accompanied by the news of significant increases in installation charges for private leased circuits over distances under 30 miles. From September onwards, all services are to be covered by the new compensation guarantees which will fall mainly into three categories: 45 days for existing customers; 60 days for new customers in premises directly connected to the Mercury network, and 90 days for customers in buildings ‘near’ the Mercury network. The announcement will be welcomed by the business community which has suffered increasingly from delays in the delivery of services from both carriers – and the lack of compensation has added insult to injury. British Telecom has been the chief offender in the late delivery stakes and is currently discussing the issue with telecoms watchdog Oftel. Yesterday’s move by its fledgling rival may goad it into agreeing some form of financial accountability to its customers although an official said: BT will act independently and in the interests of the customer. Meanwhile, Mercury is putting its price increases on short distance circuits into action immediately. A leased line under 30 miles, which now cost just UKP125, will go up to between UKP1,200 and UKP2,400.

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