Ofcom to force BT to up broadband service to rivals


Ofcom to force BT to up broadband service to rivals

Antony Savvas

BT has made progress in creating a fair playing field for rival operators in the broadband market, but it must do more, says regulator Ofcom.

In 2005, BT signed undertakings with Ofcom to stave off any legal moves by the regulator to fine it or break it up, following complaints from users and rivals that it was preventing a fair broadband market.

Ofcom says progress has been made since then, with cheaper broadband prices and higher broadband speeds for users.

It now wants to encourage further progress by making sure that Openreach, BT's broadband arm, ups its service delivery to all providers.

Ofcom is proposing new requirements on Openreach to compensate all communications providers where it fails to provide and repair services according to agreed targets.

The new measures would require Openreach to:

Pay out compensation proactively without any need for Openreach customers to make a claim

Pay out every time service or quality falls below the contractual threshold, instead of paying out against performance stated as an average over time

Continue to pay compensation each time problems persist with no upper limit to the amount which must be paid

Pay additional levels of compensation for failure to activate "live" lines, which are double the amount that BT presently pays

A consultation on the proposals has been published which can be accessed on Ofcom's website.

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