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Ofcom - Incentives May Improve Openreach Service
By: MarkJ - 10 December, 2007 (1:41 PM)

Ofcom has published its annual report into BT's compliance with the regulators Telecoms Strategic Review. Much of it is positive although issues remain, prompting Ofcom to propose "clear incentives to improve its performance levels":

Ofcom is therefore proposing new requirements on [BT]Openreach to compensate all communications providers (including BT’s retail divisions) where it fails to provide and repair services according to agreed targets. Ofcom also proposes simplification of the process for claiming such compensation. The new measures would require Openreach to:

  • Pay out compensation proactively without any need for Openreach customers to make a claim;

  • Pay out every time service or quality falls below the contractual threshold instead of paying out against performance stated as an average over time;

  • Continue to pay compensation each time problems persist with no upper limit to the amount which must be paid;

  • Pay additional levels of compensation for failure to activate ‘live’ lines which is double the amount that it presently pays.
The deadline for responses to Ofcom’s consultation on Openreach service performance is 25th January 2008.

The telecoms review has also been credited with helping to cut broadband prices, give consumers more choice (60% can choose between four or more providers and over 10m use a telecoms operator other than BT) and improve switching (5% more customers switched broadband ISP than in 2005).

It’s hoped that the changes will encourage BT to resolve problems, which can sometimes leave consumers without a voice or broadband connection, in a timelier manner.

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