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New UK Homes Ombudsman’s Remit to Cover Broadband Speed

Wednesday, February 26th, 2020 (12:01 am) - Score 1,369
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The UK Government has confirmed its intention to launch a ‘New Homes Ombudsman’ in order to protect homebuyers from “rogue” developers and their shoddy work, but if you look deep into the text this also appears to include tackling complaints related to “broadband performance.” Sadly the details are extremely vague.

According to the announcement, the “independent” Ombudsman would gain various powers, such as the ability to force “rogue builders” into paying compensation of up to £50,000 to home buyers for “shoddy work” (e.g. from sloppy brick work to faulty wiring), as well as the power to order developers into fixing poor work. As a last resort they’d even be able to ban them from building.

The law will furthermore require all house builders to join the Ombudsman scheme and aims to end the “injustice of people facing long waits and costly court cases trying to sort out problems with their new homes.” But a deeper look into the document also reveals this: “We will expect the New Homes Ombudsman’s remit to include complaints involving fuel, energy and broadband performance where expectations fall below that which is required or promised to be delivered by developers.”

Sadly no further details have been provided to clarify the mention of “broadband performance“. Nevertheless this may well complement the Government’s on-going work to introduce new rules that would require property developers and network operators to share the cost of connecting new build homes to “gigabit-capable” broadband (here), although the final policy on that has yet to be published (despite the consultation closing in 2018).

Robert Jenrick MP, UK Housing Secretary, said:

“It’s completely unacceptable that so many people struggle to get answers when they find issues with their dream new home.

That’s why the Ombudsman will stop rogue developers getting away with shoddy building work and raise the game of housebuilders across the sector.

Homebuyers will be able to access help when they need it, so disputes can be resolved faster and people can get the compensation they deserve.”

The Ombudsman is expected to be “enforced in law as soon as possible,” whatever that means in this climate. We’ll also be interested to see how the “broadband performance” aspect mixes in with Ofcom’s remit and that of their Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes, as well as plans for a future consumer advocate (here), which may cross over with the aforementioned plan.

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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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6 Responses
  1. Avatar David

    haha the old sam knows box.. well the one I had anyway 🙂

  2. Avatar AJT

    There is no such thing as a speed (throughout*) fault.

    *Well there is but I bet in 95 percent of cases, it’s not the isp or Openreach’s fault.

    • This is why we need more details from the Government as by itself the inclusion of “broadband performance” is flaky. My guess is they’ll link it to the future requirement for gigabit-capability and clamp down on developers that fail to follow rules on that, but that’s just a guess.

    • Avatar joe

      @Mark I thought the clear intent of this was when developers promise superfast then only install adsl (example) Nothing to do with say do you get your promised speed on the connection type or packetloss etc…

    • @joe. Yes you’re talking about broadly the same thing as I am, albeit at the superfast vs adsl etc. level too.

    • Avatar joe

      @mark the logical demarcation line is ombud for contract/advertising Point of Sale issues for bb installation as part of the new build development. Ofcom for everything else. Well I hope it is otherwise its going to be a mess as Ofcom have a tantrum!

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