Ofcom plans refund for customers faced with poor broadband

A new recommendation by the telecoms regulator in the UK

Ofcom plans refund for customers faced with poor broadband

Network cables are plugged in a server room | Image: Michael Bocchieri/Getty Images

Customers on the receiving end of poor quality broadband and landline services in the UK may receive a refund if plans set out by Ofcom come to fruition. 

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has said the new proposal would mean consumers would no longer have to "fight tooth and nail to get fair compensation". The plan is currently subject to consultation and could benefit some 2.6 million people, with payouts of £185 million. 

The premise of the plan is to ensure that customers are compensated when services are not up to scratch or take too long to be fixed. Slow repairs, missed deadlines and engineers failing to appear would all be covered by the plan.  

"Customers would be entitled to automatic compensation, without having to go through a potentially lengthy and difficult claims process," the regulator said. Customers would either receive a cash payment or credit against their bill. 

The proposed scale of charges would be:

  • £10 for each calendar day that the service is not repaired
  • £30 for any time that an engineer fails to turn up for a scheduled appointment, or that it is cancelled with less than 24 hours' notice
  • £6 for each calendar day of delay at the start of a new service, including the missed start date.

Ireland

Back at home, we are still awaiting the roll-out of the National Broadband Plan. This aim of the NBP is to delivered high-speed broadband to every home in Ireland. This is part of an EU-wide initiative. The EU Digital Agenda laid out the aim to achieve universal access to broadband with speeds of 30Mbps for all EU citizens by 2020. It had been hoped that by that time 50% of citizens would be subscribing to speeds of 100Mbps.

A fibre connection can deliver broadband speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, outstripping all other technologies, however, figures published by ComReg earlier this month show there are only 7,623 households and businesses in Ireland have access to a pure fibre connection.