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ISP Zen Internet “Happy” to Offer Automatic Compensation for Faults

Friday, October 14th, 2016 (9:29 am) - Score 936
zen internet uk isp

Many broadband ISPs are concerned about the plan to give UK residential and small business consumers an automatic right to compensation (here) when their service fails, but not all. The Regulatory Manager of Zen Internet, Gary Hough, has said that they’re “broadly supportive” of the proposals.

The change, which was first proposed earlier this year as part of Ofcom’s Strategic Review and is now being added into law via the forthcoming Digital Economy Bill 2016-17, has received somewhat of a bumpy reception from ISPs (here).

At issue is the question of what faults should be deemed to attract compensation (Ofcom vaguely references “a loss or reduction in service“), whether the responsible core network suppliers (e.g. Openreach) should shoulder some of the burden and the potential for all subscribers to be hit with higher prices in order to compensate for the new “compensation” system (he he).

As usual Ofcom has taken on the arduous task of sifting through all of many complexities in order to hopefully craft a simple and straightforward system, which ISPs can then introduce without pain. Easier said than done.

The regulator also states that any faults liable for compensation will need to originate with the ISP, rather than the customer’s own equipment or wiring, but accurately identifying this isn’t always as easy as it sounds and can take time. Suffice to say that most ISPs are concerned about the proposals, but not Zen Internet.

Gary Hough, Zen’s Regulatory Manager, said:

“Ofcom is still in the consultation process and we are waiting to see the details, such as what faults would attract automatic compensation. Some issues – like street cabinet vandalism, say, or flooding – are clearly beyond our control.

But in general we think that ISPs should be happy to offer automatic compensation to customers when the fault is ours. We know that our residential and small business customers rely on a fast and reliable service from Zen. When something goes wrong it is only right that we both compensate customers and fix the fault as quickly as possible.”

All credits to Zen for taking a positive stance on the subject. However Ofcom seems to be leaning towards a system that requires ISPs to compensate, even for problems that exist outside of their direct control (i.e. a flooded street may still result in a loss of service for the subscriber). The regulator intends to detail their chosen approach by the end of this year.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Kevin Forbes

    The problem here is that the ISP will go out of their way to claim every outage is beyond their control to avoid paying out compensation. Openreach already lie through their teeth to try and cover up their incompetence and they don’t even have to pay compensation, no matter how inept and appalling their service is.

    • Avatar wirelesspacman

      “they don’t even have to pay compensation,”

      Even when they do, via SLA and SLG agreements, they do their best to ignore it unless/until you (almost literally) shout and scream at them.

  2. Avatar dragoneast

    Those magic little words “when the fault is ours”. I’m sure all ISPs are happy to offer automatic compensation “when the fault is theirs”. Who wouldn’t be? Saying “we’re not happy to give you any redress when it’s our fault” is hardly a good selling point is it? Good marketing though, to get lauded to the heavens by the commentators for simply stating the obvious, and actually promising nothing! Cheaper than paying for an advertisement. Well done Zen for a PR hit, if nothing else.

  3. Avatar Brian Burgess

    Well done Zen. In my view you already provide a very reliable service and when I did have a failure, due to nature not you, you sorted it quickly, within 24 hours IIRC and certainly faster than BT or other ISPs did.

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