Skip to main content

Ofcom proposes cut in broadband switching rates, minimum contracts and repair times

Ofcom is cutting to cost of switching broadband provider to trigger growth in the number of superfast providers in the UK market as well as shortening the length of the shortest contract term ISPs can offer.

Related: 98% of UK on course for 4G by 2017 as Ofcom clears spectrum

The communications watchdog announced that the wholesale fee paid to Openreach, the company that control’s BT’s phone and broadband infrastructure, by the customer’s new ISP will drop from the current £50 to around £11.

In addition to this move it is also slashing the minimum length of the wholesale contract between BT and the new supplier from a year to one month in order to make it more flexible for telecoms providers to lay on shorter retail contracts for customers.

Ofcom is also seeking to impose new rules and regulations on the way that Openreach makes repairs and connects new lines. The changes will mean the “vast majority of phone and broadband faults” have to be repaired within two working days. When it comes to new lines an appointment must be booked within 12 working days.

“These targets are expected to apply from this summer and are set out in new minimum performance standards for Openreach, the company that installs and maintains connections to BT’s network on behalf of competing providers,” read a release from Ofcom. “Should Openreach fail to meet the new targets, it would face sanctions from Ofcom, which could include fines.”

Ofcom’s latest move in the broadband market comes after Hyperoptic, a UK broadband provider, stated that Ofcom has exaggerated the progress being made by the UK when it comes broadband speeds. Ofcom hit back at the claims by stating that the methodology used is representative of the UK as a whole and not a small part, as is claimed by the ISP.

Related: NAO report estimates Ofcom could have made £160m more from UK 4G auction

Everything that Ofcom is proposing is subject to a review by the European Commission after which the communications watchdog will publish final statements during the month of June.