Customers who experience broadband or landline outages will soon be entitled to compensation under a new scheme.
Openreach has agreed to award £8 per day to customers in the event that their services are disrupted. Five of the UK’s biggest internet service providers (ISPs) have also signed up to the scheme.
The compensation scheme will apply to customers if a service fault takes more than two days to resolve, Openreach announced.
Similar compensation agreements have also been arranged as part of the initiative. If an engineer fails to arrive on schedule – or cancels within 24 hours – customers will receive £25 in compensation.
A daily charge of £5 will also apply if new services do not start on time.
Most of the UK’s major service providers, including BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Sky and Zen Internet have all agreed to the plan despite it being voluntary.
EE and Plusnet have also signalled their intention to sign up in the near future.
In November 2017, Ofcom published details of its voluntary automatic compensation code of practice.
At the time of publication, Ofcom announced it would allow for a 15-month implementation period to accommodate for service providers. This should mean that the new system will be in place by early 2019.
“Beyond Reasonable Control”
Openreach said it will also pay compensation to consumers if they are prevented from accessing the network.
If a vehicle, for example, is parked in front of a cabinet, or if engineers are unable to access a pole on private land, then Openreach will still award compensation for the inconvenience to customers.
The telecommunications company said it would draw the line at unforeseen circumstances, however. Compensation will not be awarded in the event of “measures beyond reasonable control”, such as flooding or other weather-related issues.
“In truth £8 per day when you are disconnected from the internet is a complete waste of time,” he said. “Increasingly, flexible and home working means that our businesses are run from our homes. Connectivity is the umbilical cord and customers should be contracting to serious, real high quality internet connectivity with resilience and contingency connections in the event of downtime.”
Nicol added: “While it’s better than nothing, this compensation is an absolute waste of time in my opinion – and that £8 is the equivalent of buying a pint and a half of beer to soothe the pain as your business goes to the wall.”