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Broadband Connection Delays Still Hamper Market

Posted: 31st Oct, 2007 By: MarkJ
Speaking to the Thisismoney.co.uk site, Ofcom has revealed that the number of people complaining about broadband connection problems when joining a new ISP has dropped.

Ofcom currently receives an average of 180 related complaints per week, which compares with 500 at the same time last year. The drop has been largely attributed to the regulators improved migration rules, yet clearly the problem itself is far from gone:

What makes matters worse is that customers often end up paying for their broadband service, even though they cannot access it. This is what happened to Arthur Lewis, 32, a production manager for a magazine company, and his girlfriend Mary-Ann Bye, 27, a town planning officer.

When they moved house within Ealing, west London, in April, they hoped to move their BT broadband service with them. The couple were hoping to switch their phone and broadband services seamlessly to their new property, but when they set up their computer they got an error message and could not connect.

After six weeks of wrangling with BT over how to remedy the problem, which Arthur believes arose because the previous occupants had not disconnected their broadband service with another provider, Arthur decided to switch supplier. But BT still charged him more than £50 because he had broken his broadband contract, which had five months to run.

Unfortunately we frequently hear of such issues and many people never complain to Ofcom about it. Part of the problem is probably down to fully unbundled (LLU) lines, which tend to run into a few technical problems when confronted with migrations between providers.

One way to improve the situation would be for a central body, accessible by consumers, to take full responsibility for overseeing issues such as this. Though groups such as BTOpenreach , Ofcom and various ADR schemes can handle some elements, often what actually happens is that an ISP will simply embroil consumers in a saga of “pass the buck”.
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