BRIT BROADBAND PROVIDERS must now give customers clearer information about the minimum broadband speeds they can expect to receive.
Formalised exactly one year ago, Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice – which comes into force on Friday – requires that ISPs give new customers a minimum speed guarantee, regardless of whether they are signing up for copper, cable or fibre services.
Providers will also be required to provide customers with a realistic peak time (8-10pm for home users and 12-2pm for businesses) speed estimates; Ofcom’s own research found that, in 2017, average download speeds for residential customers were 34.6Mbps during the 8-10pm peak period, compared to average maximum speeds of 39.1Mbps.
If a customers’ broadband speed drops below an ISPs’ promised guarantee, Ofcom‘s new code will give ISPs one month to improve performance before they must allow customers to walk away without paying a penalty.
This right to exit a contract will also include landline and TV packages bought together with broadband for the first time.
BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – which together account for around 95 per cent of home broadband customers in Blighty – have all signed up to the new code.
For biz customers, BT, Daisy, TalkTalk and Virgin have agreed to comply, while KCOM and XLN have “signed up in principle, and expect to be compliant shortly”.
Ofcom consumer group director, Lindsey Fussell, said: “When you sign a contract, you should be treated fairly and know exactly what you’re getting.
“These protections mean broadband shoppers can buy with confidence. Before they sign up, customers will be told their minimum internet speed. And if companies break that promise, they’ll have to sort it out quickly, or let the customer walk away.”.
Ofcom says it will keep a keen eye on companies’ compliance with its new requirements, and will report on their performance next year