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Ofcom Told to Improve UK ISP Broadband Migrations and Connection Speeds

Posted: 11th Nov, 2010 By: MarkJ
ofcomThe National Audit Office (NAO) has issued a new report into Ofcom's performance and found that the UK communications regulator does many positive things for the market. However the NAO criticises Ofcom for being unable to demonstrate that it can deliver "value for money".

uk telecoms broadband ISP switching - migration

Crucially the report also calls on Ofcom to make a number of broadband ISP related improvements, such as to improve the process for switching internet providers. As it stands there are still many areas where the Migration Code (MAC) system doesn't allow smooth migration, such as with fully unbundled providers.
11. There is still scope for improvement in some areas [REPORT SAMPLE].

Two of the top ten areas in which complaints were made to the consumer helpline Consumer Direct in 2009 were in the communications market. Ofcom’s data demonstrates some specific areas where improvements are needed, for example:
a. Switching: In a well-functioning market it is important for consumers to be able to exercise choice, for example by switching providers. The communications market has relatively low switching rates and it is important for Ofcom to understand whether this is through consumers’ choice or whether they face barriers. Twenty-eight per cent of consumers feel it is difficult to switch. Ofcom is seeking to tackle barriers to switching as a priority for 2010-11.

b. Broadband speed: Ofcom’s research in May 2010 found that average speeds in the UK were some 45 per cent slower than advertised. Ofcom introduced a voluntary code of practice in 2008, and strengthened it in July 2010, to address this discrepancy between advertised and actual speeds. UK consumers experience broadband speeds that are lower than in many other countries.
The majority of stakeholders apparently felt that Ofcom conducts its consultations well, but 44% of those we surveyed said the regulator does not go on to act in a timely manner on the relevant issues. However Ofcom claimed that this was often due to costly appeals, which slowed its processes.
NAO-Ofcom Report (PDF)
http://www.nao.org.uk/idoc.ashx?docId=076dd996-23da-474a-8e1a-08e84260c82d&version=-1
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