While the UK’s broadband coverage is expanding, its infrastructure is only maintained by a few providers. With little overlap, some areas suffer from a lack of investment, which often means that speeds are lower than advertised. Those affected have previously had little choice but to put up with it, but a new ruling from communications regulator Ofcom could change that. The watchdog has announced that it will let consumers escape broadband contracts if speeds “fall below expected levels.”
In its “strengthened code of practice,” drawn up with help from BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, customers can walk away from their provider “during the whole term of the contract,” not just in the first three months. Currently, it will only apply to ISPs using copper or fibre-based broadband up to 80Mbps, which means Virgin Media plans are excluded.
Ofcom also has plans to make it easier for customers to switch their provider. From June 20th, it’ll implement a new system that will put more power in the hands of the ISP a customer is moving to. It means that if you’re using a traditional BT phone line, you’ll be able to jump between BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk and other smaller ISPs using Ofcom’s new “one touch” process. The regulator says the same will happen with mobile phone tariffs, but will detail its plans next month.
Filed under: Household, Internet