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Ofcom Introduces Openreach Incentives to Boost Quality
By: MarkJ - 20 March, 2008 (1:43 PM)

The Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA), Peter Black, often points to failings in BT's Openreach division, which was setup to "ensure that all rival operators have equality of access to BT's own local network".

Now Ofcom hopes to encourage an improvement by introducing a new package of "incentives", which will require Openreach to compensate all communications providers (including BT) where it fails to provide and repair services according to agreed targets:

The rules require Openreach to:

  • pay compensation proactively without any need for Openreach customers to make a claim should a fault be fixed late or a line provided late;

  • pay 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 up to a capped limit; and

  • for local loop unbundling, pay additional levels of compensation for failure to activate ‘live’ lines at double the current amount.

The package of measures follows concerns raised by telecoms companies that Openreach was not sufficiently focused on meeting the needs of all of its wholesale customers. In particular, other communications providers were concerned about the time and complexity involved in claiming compensation resulting from a service failure.

The new measures relate to wholesale line rental, local loop unbundling and wholesale Ethernet services - taking full effect from 20th June 2008. ISPs that have seen some broadband customers left in broadband limbo during migration from a BT line to an unbundled connection will no doubt be pleased with the move.

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