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Ofcom Praise Sky and Virgin Media in Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Broadband providers Virgin Media and Sky Broadband have today been praised by Ofcom‘s Q2 2017 UK consumer complaints report after they received fewer gripes than any other ISP for their service. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for BT and TalkTalk, which attracted the most complaints.1234

The report, which also examined Landline Phone, Mobile and Pay TV providers, notes that Ofcom5 continue to receive “nearly250 complaints per day (down from “nearly” 300 at the last report), although their study only includes feedback from the biggest providers (i.e. those with a market share of at least 1.5%). The data itself is reflected as a proportion of residential subscribers (i.e. the total number of quarterly complaints per 100,000 customers), which makes it easier to compare providers in a market where the biggest ISPs can vary significantly in size.

Overall the total volume of complaints across all service sectors has decreased during the first half of 2017 and this quarter sees the addition of BT Mobile’s pay-monthly product into the table, which occurs because the service has now achieved “sufficient market share“. By comparison with Q1 2017, the total volume of complaints decreased by four for landline services, decreased by three for fixed broadband services, and decreased by one for both pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services. However fixed broadband and landline services continue to generate the highest number of complaints.

Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy, said:

“Complaints about telecoms and pay-TV may be falling this year, but some providers are falling a long way short on customer service. There can be no room for complacency. We expect providers, particularly those who have been consistently under-performing, to make service quality and complaints handling their number one priority.”

Take note, today’s report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to an ISP or ombudsman.

Ofcom does not itself deal with individual complaints but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a problem. Consumers who are unable to resolve a complaint with their communications provider can (after 8 weeks) raise a case with one of the two ombudsman providers – Ombudsman Services: Communications or CISAS – under the Alternative Dispute Resolution6 process (they will investigate the issue at no cost to yourself).

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Overall BT generated the highest relative complaint volumes in Q2 2017 and the main complaint drivers for them related to faults, service and provision issues, followed by complaints handling and billing, pricing and charges.However it has to be said that almost every provider saw a reduction in complaint volumes during Q2. By comparison Virgin Media7 and Sky Broadband8 all generated the lowest relative complaint volumes and remain below the industry average volume of complaints. Both operators have also just been joined by EE, which is a welcome development.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Fixed Line Phone Complaints

In terms of phone line services, the most complaints were generated by TalkTalk9 and the Post Office10, which was largely due to complaints relating to faults, service and provision issues. Ofcom also believes that BT’s performance may be comparable to those two, although they show up as being lower because they used a different methodology to compile their subscriber figures. Once again EE, Sky Broadband and Virgin Media remain below the line and received the fewest complaints overall.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Mobile Complaints

Both Vodafone11 and BT Mobile received the most complaints this quarter, although Vodafone12‘s complaint levels have dropped sharply over the past six months. Vodafone and BT’s main complaint drivers were gripes related to handling, followed by issues around billing, pricing and charges.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Pay TV Complaints

Sadly BT continues to generate the highest relative volume of Pay TV complaints, although they have seen a big drop in the amount being received and that’s a positive development. The main driver of BT’s complaints related to faults, service and provision issues, complaints handling and billing, pricing and charges. On the flip side Sky TV received the fewest gripes of anybody and is the only operator below the line for industry average (that’s a good thing).

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Ofcom’s Complaints Report Q2 2017
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/../Telecoms-pay-TV-complaints-Q2-2017.pdf13

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References

  1. ^ Virgin Media (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  2. ^ Sky Broadband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  3. ^ Ofcom (www.ofcom.org.uk)
  4. ^ TalkTalk (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  5. ^ Ofcom (www.ofcom.org.uk)
  6. ^ Alternative Dispute Resolution (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  7. ^ Virgin Media (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  8. ^ Sky Broadband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  9. ^ TalkTalk (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  10. ^ Post Office (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  11. ^ Vodafone (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  12. ^ Vodafone (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  13. ^ https://www.ofcom.org.uk/../Telecoms-pay-TV-complaints-Q2-2017.pdf (www.ofcom.org.uk)

Super fast fibre broadband coming to West Yorkshire in £200m pilot scheme

County has been chosen as one of six areas to test the service

West Yorkshire has been revealed as one of just six places chosen to test out the fastest and most reliable broadband. Fibre broadband is to be rolled out to businesses, schools and hospitals in a ?200m pilot scheme. The projects will get around ?10 million to test full fibre networks that run straight to the doors of customers’ homes or businesses and is said to offer speeds of 1 gigabyte.

Karen Rukin of Kirklees Council said: “This is great news and a small project team is being established who will work with government to deliver this scheme locally.

“There is still work to do to shape how the scheme will operate exactly in West Yorkshire.”

Kirklees councillor Andrew Cooper, (Greens, Newsome), said: “It’s good that more communities are getting a better broadband service. As local councillors we will be dropping letters informing the householders affected to make sure they don’t lose out.”

Clr Andrew Cooper

Full fibre broadband could potentially allow:

* hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds,

* businesses to reach ever more customers online, increasing transactions by uploading even the largest files quickly and easily

* school classrooms to see a vast increase the number of pupils who can stream educational videos at the same time

The scheme is also being tested in Aberdeenshire, West Sussex, Warwickshire, Somerset and Greater Manchester. Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock MP, said: “We want to see more commercial investment in the gold standard connectivity that full fibre provides and these innovative pilots will help create the right environment for this to happen.

“To keep Britain as the digital world leader that it is we need to have the right infrastructure in place to allow us to keep up with the rapid advances in technology now and in the future.

The announcement is the first step as part of the government’s four-year plan to stimulate the market and encourage the growth of full fibre up and down the country.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Jones MP, said: “How we live and work today is directly affected by how good our broadband connection is.

Reliable connections enable new industries to flourish, help create jobs and give people flexibility in how and where they work.”

Average UK broadband speed slower than most of Europe, report finds

Britain is a broadband laggard with an average speed ranking it 31st in the world trailing most of Europe, Thailand and New Zealand. A new report has found that across the UK the average broadband download speed is 16.5Mbps, at which it takes about an hour to download a lengthy Hollywood film such as Lord of the Rings or an entire TV box set.

The average speed in the UK is less than a third that of Singapore, which tops the global league table measuring broadband in 189 countries, where it takes an average of 18 minutes to download a 7.5Gb film.

The UK falls well short of the average speeds enjoyed by European countries including Germany (18.8Mbps), Spain (19.6Mbps), Sweden (40Mbps) and Hungary (23Mbps). Outside Europe, the UK is bettered by nations including the US (20Mbps), Canada (18Mbps) and New Zealand (16.6Mbps). The report found that overall the UK lags behind 19 European countries, 17 of them in the European Union.

“These results offer us a fresh perspective on where we sit in the broadband world,” says Dan Howdle, consumer and telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, which produced the report. “Relatively speaking, we are near the top of the table. However, many of those ahead of us, some a long way ahead, are our neighbours both in the European Union and wider Europe.

Is it good enough to lag behind 20 other European countries in terms of broadband speed?”

Major European countries that fared worse than the UK include France, which ranked 37th, and Italy at 46th.

Ofcom has set a goal of delivering a minimum of 10Mb broadband to all UK households. This is the minimum speed the media regulator deems necessary to cope with a typical family’s internet needs such as streaming Netflix, downloading a film on Sky and browsing the internet.

Last month, a group of 57 MPs published a report calling on Ofcom to make broadband providers such as BT and Sky compensate customers who do not get the connection speeds they are promised1. Ofcom reckons that the average UK broadband download speed theoretically achievable – although not necessarily the speeds experienced by home internet users – reached 36Mbps in November last year2. Howdle said Cable.co.uk’s report shows an emergence of a broadband “first world” and “third world” with many less developed countries such as Somalia, Congo, Gabon and Malawi appearing at the bottom of the list.

Twenty of the top 30 fastest-performing countries are in Europe, and 17 of the slowest-performing 30 countries are located in Africa.

However, many countries and regions, such as Africa, are expected to bypass broadband via cable and move straight to mobile internet technology.

The report, which examined global data from 63m speed tests over the course of a year, was put together by open internet measurement firm M-Lab, a consortium of partners including New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research and Princeton University’s Planet Lab.

Last month, BT made an offer to the government to roll out broadband to the last 1.4m homes in the UK without it. They are mostly in locations where it is uneconomical for broadband providers to extend their services, such as parts of rural Wales, Cornwall, Yorkshire and Scotland.
3

Global broadband average speed league table

1.

Singapore 55Mbps
2. Sweden 40Mbps
3. Taiwan 34.4Mbps
4. Denmark 33.5Mbps
5. Netherlands 33.5Mbps
6. Latvia 30.3Mbps
7. Norway 29Mbps
8. Belgium 27.3Mbps
9. Hong Kong 27Mbps
10.

Switzerland 26.9Mbps
31.

United Kingdom 16.5Mbps

Source: Cable.co.uk, M-Lab

References

  1. ^ compensate customers who do not get the connection speeds they are promised (www.theguardian.com)
  2. ^ reached 36Mbps in November last year (www.ofcom.org.uk)
  3. ^ last 1.4m homes in the UK (www.theguardian.com)