Broadband providers will be forced to pay customers £8 compensation a DAY when your internet fails
- The new regime will offer ?8 a day if the broadband or landline is cut off
- Ofcom, yesterday announced the package amid growing customer frustration
- Britain lags behind many other poorer nations in terms of broadband
Automatic compensation will be paid to millions of broadband customers when the service fails.
However, the new regime, which will offer ?8 a day if the broadband or landline is cut off, won’t come into effect until the beginning of 2019.
The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, yesterday announced the package amid growing customer frustration about poor service and high prices.
The telecoms regulator, Ofcom, yesterday announced the package amid growing customer frustration about poor service and high prices
Broadband has become an essential in homes, providing access to the internet, streaming music and film services, pay TV, voice and video calls.
However, most of the nation’s services arrive via old, unreliable, telephone copper wires that have been in place for more than 50 years.
Even supposedly high speed cable services from the likes of Virgin, run from street cabinets, routinely fail or slow down during the evening peak and at weekends.
Britain lags behind many other poorer nations in terms of broadband and speed and services, however prices can be extortionate.
Britain lags behind many other poorer nations in terms of broadband and speed and services, however prices can be extortionate
In fact, full service packages can cost more than ?1,500 a year, which is more that the average family pays for heat and light.
Just this week, it emerged that BT is to put up its prices for the third time in 18 months in the New Year. Some will go up by ?36 a year.
The competition for the right to TV sports, such as the Premier League, rugby and cricket, is driving up prices across broadband providers.
Under the new arrangements, compensation will be ?8 per day for loss of service. There will be ?25 if a firm misses an appointment to carry out a repair.
Compensation of ?5 per day will be paid if a broadband firm fails to start a new service when promised.
The new regime will cover BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet, which supply services to 90per cent of homes.
Ofcom said it expects total payments to run to ?142m a year, which is nine times more than the major players currently pay.
There are 5.7 million cases of consumers experiencing a loss of their broadband or landline service every year, with engineers failing to turn up to around 250,000 appointments and one in eight installations being delayed, affecting more than 1.3 million people.
At present, compensation is paid out in around one in seven cases of landline or broadband customers suffering slow repairs, delayed installations or missed engineer appointments; and even then, only in small amounts.
Ofcom said the 15 month delay in implementation is because it will take time for the companies to change their billing systems.
The regulator’s consumer group director, Lindsey Fussell, said: ‘Waiting too long for your landline or broadband to be fixed is frustrating enough, without having to fight for compensation.
‘So providers will have to pay money back automatically, whenever repairs or installations don’t happen on time, or an engineer doesn’t turn up.
People will get the money they deserve, while providers will want to work harder to improve their service.’
The Which? managing director of home services, Alex Neill, said: ‘We are pleased that compensation for poor broadband is going to become automatic, as it is now such an essential part of all of our everyday lives.
‘For all consumers to get what they’re entitled to, it’s vital that all providers play fair and sign up to this scheme.’
Ofcom warned that if companies fail to abide by the rules of what is a voluntary compensation scheme, it will step in and impose legal controls.