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Broadband: Regulation

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 146980, tabled on 1 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, how each regulatory mechanism governing consumer-compensation schemes with respect to broadband service providers is monitored to ensure it is (a) accessible to and (b) practically functional for individual consumers.

Answered on

4 February 2021

To help protect telecoms consumers, the Government strengthened Ofcom’s powers through the Digital Economy Act 2017. As a result, in April 2019, Ofcom introduced a voluntary automatic compensation scheme for customers of broadband and landline services for when things go wrong, such as missed engineer appointments, delayed start of a service or delayed repairs. BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, Zen Internet, Utility Warehouse and Hyperoptic have all signed up to the scheme. The scheme is designed to help ensure customers receive appropriate redress when things go wrong and, over time, incentivise companies to improve their service.

Since its launch, Ofcom has been monitoring the scheme through regular engagement with the signatory companies, Openreach and with telecoms alternative dispute resolution providers. Under the voluntary agreement, signatories are also required to provide information to Ofcom, such as volumes of issues and the amounts of compensation paid. Following a review of the scheme in August 2020, Ofcom concluded that the scheme was launched successfully, that it covered around 80% of the broadband market, and that it had increased compensation payments to consumers where repairs or installations had been delayed.

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