UK broadband users will be served better from the start of next month after the European Commission ratified Ofcom proposals that will make BT Openreach repair faults in a shorter amount of time.
The long hours spent waiting for a BT engineer to serve customers in their hour of need could be coming to an end with Ofcom proposals stipulating that BT Openreach must complete 70 per cent of fault repairs in one to two working days of being informed from 1 July.
Ofcom first proposed the changes back in May and the one to two working days condition will rise to 80 per cent of repairs by 2016. In addition to repairs, BT Openreach will have to provide an appointment to 55 per cent of new line installations within 12 working days and this will also rise to 80 per cent by 2016.
The communications watchdog also wants Openreach to report publicly on its performance in the shape of quarterly reports on its website that will get underway from October, at the latest. These are designed to give “clear, meaningful and transparent information” on how long it is taking to repair faults and install new lines. Ofcom warned that it would monitor this and “intervene further if necessary”.
Ofcom has the power to impose sanctions on BT Openreach, including fines, if it fails to make good on the new targets.
When it comes to all other broadband providers, the wholesale charge paid when a customer changes superfast broadband provider will be reduced from £50 to £11 in order for lower startup fees to be charged to consumers and promote competition. To this end it has also cut the minimum length of wholesale contract between providers from one year to one month resulting in shorter contracts being offered to consumers.