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Ofcom increases pressure on telecoms providers

Ofcom has set out a range of measures to help raise the quality of service in the telecoms industry, improve competition and boost access to digital infrastructure. 

In its Strategic Review of Digital Communications, the regulator announced plans to subject network operator Openreach to tougher requirements for repairing faults and installing new lines, and to introduce automatic compensation for consumers and businesses when things go wrong.

It also called for steadily increasing minimum broadband speeds to be delivered in the form of an escalating Universal Service Obligation (USO), starting at 10Mbps but then rising in line with consumer demand.

The report highlighted several problems with the existing market that had also been flagged by FSB, including delays in fixing faults and lower-than-expected broadband speeds. FSB has been at the forefront of calling for the USO to be set at 10Mbps.

“Ofcom is right to focus on raising minimum standards,” said Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman. “Automatic compensation for poor fault repair is also a positive development. Together, these should provide a strong financial incentive for providers to improve the quality of service on offer. Getting access to superfast broadband is an ongoing issue, with business properties continuing to lag the domestic rollout. A stretching USO for all premises is needed.”

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