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Ofcom Implements New Broadband Speed Rules for UK ISPs
By: MarkJ - 04 December, 2008 (1:29 PM)

Ofcom's new voluntary Code of Practice (CoP) for broadband speeds, which aims to help UK ISPs into providing customers with a true picture of likely broadband performance at the point of sale, will officially come into force tomorrow.

Forthcoming Ofcom research (due early 2009) is expected to reveal that around a quarter of people do not receive the speed they initially expected. Ofcom is also conducting research on the actual speeds obtained by broadband customers and will publish that in the same timeframe:

Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards said, “Ofcom welcomes the fact that so many ISPs have signed and now implemented the Code of Practice. Over 95 per cent of broadband customers are covered by the Code which means that the vast majority of people should be confident about the advice they receive on broadband speeds.

Under the Code, ISPs are required to:

  • provide consumers at the point of sale with an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that their line can support;

  • explain clearly and simply how technical factors may slow down speeds and giving help and advice to consumers to improve the situation at home;

  • offer an alternative package (if there is one) without any penalties, if the actual speed is a lot lower than the original estimate; and

  • explain fair usage policies clearly and alert consumers when they have been breached.
  • A full list of ISPs that have signed up to the code can be found at http://www.ofcom.org.uk/broadbandcode .

Ofcom will monitor compliance over the next six months to ensure ISPs are honouring their commitments to the Code. Presently the vast majority of mainstream ISPs appear to have signed up, covering 95% of UK broadband customers.

The regulator has also published a new consumer guide, which contains the facts about home broadband speeds and includes troubleshooting tips if you’re not getting the speed expected. There's also information about fair usage policies - Download Guide (PDF.).

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