Ofcom have now announced the final details of their automatic broadband compensation scheme. Not much has changed since the initial proposals, with some back and forth between industry and Ofcom over the final agreed compensation amounts. But, the biggest surprise is the fact that this will now be a voluntary agreement between Ofcom and several of the UK’s consumer focused providers, namely BT, Virgin Media, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Zen Internet with EE and Plusnet also indicating an intention to join the scheme.Read More »
Back in March, Ofcom announced plans to introduce a new automatic broadband compensation system which would award customers set amounts of compensation where they experience delayed repair following loss of service, delays with start of new service or missed engineer appointments. We originally stated that the proposed claim amounts were disproportionately high when you consider most residential broadband services cost around £20 a month and Ofcom were proposing claims of £10 per day for an outage.
Since then the proposals have entered a consultation period and this week the Citizens Advice bureau has slammed ISPs for their counter proposal of slightly reduced claim amounts, calculating that customers could be ‘short changed’ by up to 32% when compared to Ofcom’s original proposal.Read More »
Last week the Digital Economy Bill 2016-7 was passed by both Houses of Parliament and now receives Royal Assent which means it will be law imminently. The new legislation brings with it a number of important new implications for the industry (with some last minute changes to be aware of) so we’ve provided a summary of the key points below:
30Mbps USO scrapped in favour of 10Mbps
The 10Mbps USO for broadband has been on the cards for quite some time and its approval comes as no surprise to us. However, quite recently a proposal was passed by the House of Lords to increase this to 30Mbps by the existing 2020 deadline which seemed completely implausible to us. This has since been scrapped and the original 10Mbps confirmed; however a further clause to increase the USO has now been included. The Government will now be able to raise the USO’s minimum speed, once 75% of households have been upgraded to ‘superfast broadband’ services.
A full consultation is now expected to be held to iron out the details of the USO implementation, funding and requirements on industry.Read More »
Last week further details emerged regarding Ofcom’s plans for a broadband compensation scheme. In our previous article (Where there’s blame there’s a claim – really?) we clearly stated a number of concerns we have about this and with the release of the additional information from Ofcom, unfortunately many of those concerns remain.
What are the compensation plans?
When a consumer (specifically a residential consumer or SME) with a domestic fixed line broadband service experiences a fault they would be entitled to claim automatic compensation at set rates eliminating the need for any lengthy or difficult claims processes.
Ofcom states the situations allowable for compensation and set rates are:
- Delayed repair following loss of service – the service has stopped working and is not fully fixed after two full working days = £10 per calendar day that service is not repaired
- Delays with start of new service – Promised start date for new service is missed = £6 per calendar day of delay including missed start date.
- Missed engineer appointment – engineer doesn’t turn up for appointment or the appointment is cancelled with less than 24 hours notice = £30 per missed appointment
The recent saga concerning the separation of BT and Openreach has set many industry observers speculating about whether it will have any real impact. Only time will tell. But perhaps a further and more important question is whether or not the interests of UK businesses will be well-served in the future when the dust has settled and the storyline has moved on.
Besides competition, there is another good argument for tearing BT and Openreach asunder. It might actually be good for BT in the long run, as it means the company won’t have to fight on as many fronts.Read More »
2017 is once again set to be a big year for the industry with significant policy developments on the horizon. In the coming year, the Digital Economy Bill will become law; there will be changes to Ofcom’s General Conditions; and the Investigatory Powers Act will be implemented. There will also be new Government funding for full-fibre broadband and changes to broadband advertising rules – all against a backdrop of Brexit and political instability. In the light of these developments it is incredibly important that the breadth of Internet industry views are heard and that is where we turn to industry bodies such as ISPA, to ensure we have our say. Nicholas Lansman, Secretary General from ISPA informs us of the key areas they are currently involved in and what we should be aware of in 2017.Read More »
Progress. It’s what we all work for and it seems there was quite a lot of it last year in terms of broadband availability. ADSL coverage increased by 1% nationally, while FTTC saw a 6% increase and FTTP coverage grew by 1.7%. It’s no surprise that FTTC – or superfast broadband in layman’s terms – saw the biggest increase given that the Government is quickly coming up on its self-imposed deadline of 95% coverage by the end of this year.
The question now is of course where BDUK and BT will look to upgrade cabinets in order to achieve their 95% coverage target. The logical answer is that they’ll focus on the low-hanging fruit – that is cabinets that are easy and therefore more cost effective to upgrade than those requiring lots of engineering works. This will likely mean that the focus remains on urban and semi-rural locations, leaving those in the countryside to wither on a sub-par service until the Universal Service Obligation (USO) gives them something a little better – if they request it and it won’t cost too much to provision… As you can see from our infographic ‘Connectivity in the UK’, Ofcom’s Connected Nations Report 2016 says that there are 1.4m premises in the UK that can’t currently access a minimum speed of 10Mbps, the proposed minimum threshold speed of the USO.14% of these – or 200,000 premises – are small to medium-sized businesses and 69% (that’s 960,000 buildings) are in rural locations.Read More »
Yesterday’s trade press was dominated by the news that Ofcom has issued a directive that BT must ‘legally separate’ from its Openreach division. On the face of it, the move is designed to level the market playing field and encourage fairer competition but of course, whether it does remains to be seen. It’s important to appreciate that BT won’t have to split Openreach off entirely – it will still own Openreach, albeit as a legally separate entity. So what will this mean for the industry, resellers and customers?
Openreach will become a distinct company with its own board, says Ofcom, with non-executives and a chairperson not affiliated with BT (the newly appointed former Ofcom board member Mike McTighe). Ofcom also wants Openreach to have control over its branding and budget allocation. Importantly, it will have a duty to treat all of its customers equally.Read More »
At the risk of getting the prize for stating the obvious, we’re all using more data. Consumers are increasingly opting for unlimited packages for their fixed line broadband and competition in the mobile data marketplace continues to develop at a pace. Ofcom, in its annual report, consistently issues data proving that the domain of Homo Informaticus continues to grow year-on-year. To feed this unquenchable thirst the regulator has been working on behalf of the Government to figure out how best to implement the proposed Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will give everyone in Britain the ‘legal right’ to request a broadband connection providing download speeds of around 10Mbps. But for many the issue is that all of the improvements to national broadband coverage – be it the USO or the BDUK rollout of superfast broadband – are focused on download speeds and aren’t looking to improve upload speeds to the same degree.Read More »
Over the last fortnight there have been a litany of connectivity faults preventing users getting online. First up was a power outage at TeleCity on the 20th July, followed by a failure at Telehouse North the very next day. Zen then suffered an outage that affected its DSL and leased line Internet services, and this week Sky’s fibre network was hit with an unusual routing problem and Virgin Media suffered a major fibre break. No business – no matter how big or small – is immune from faults that affect service delivery.
The outages that affected central infrastructure (TeleCity, Telehouse North and Virgin’s fibre break) impacted everyone in the supply chain. Some of our partners’ customers were unable to get online, along with the retail customers of BT, Plusnet and others, for several hours. There wasn’t anything we could do to physically fix the issues as the repair work was under their control; we could only keep our customers informed and manage their dissatisfaction as best we could. But the experience got us thinking: if Ofcom’s proposals for automatic compensation had been in place, how much happier would affected customers have been, and whose pocket would be feeling the pinch?Read More »