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Ofcom Bans Three-Year Broadband And Phone Contracts

UK regulator Ofcom has banned telecoms from offering three-year broadband and phone contracts to customers as new European Union laws come in to effect, The Guardian reports.

Ofcom asked operators to introduce new 12-month contracts to allow customers to remain flexible. Operators will also be able to offer contracts of up to 24 months for both broadband and phone, but not for longer time frames.

Among other new regulations imposed by Ofcom, mobile phone operators will have to finish porting customers’ number to a different provider within one working day at the customer's request.

Operators will be forced to offer compensation to customers if they are not able to port the number on time. Ofcom has decided to let the operators decide the compensation but will conduct a review within one year to see if the compensation being offered is adequate.

The regulator has also introduced a SMS scheme which will allow users to send a text message with their emergency instead of calling the 999 number.

“These changes to the regulations should make it easier for consumers to take advantage of the wide range of competition in the UK communications market. The emergency SMS scheme has proved very successful. It is right that this service should be made permanent in order to safeguard it for the people who depend on it,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.