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Ofcom stiffens rules for broadband providers

Broadband providers in the UK must promise customers a minimum guaranteed speed for their service at the point of sale under a new code of practice developed by telecoms regulator Ofcom that takes effect today.01 Mar 2019

Further information about the peak-time speeds available must also be shared with customers before a contract is signed under the code, which also sets out new rights for customers to terminate agreements where the level of service falls short of what was promised.

"The code means broadband firms will always have to give customers a minimum guaranteed speed at the point of sale," Ofcom said. "If a customer’s broadband speed then drops below the promised level, companies will have one month to improve performance, before they must let the customer walk away – penalty-free. This right to exit also applies to landline and TV packages bought at the same time as broadband."

"Broadband providers must also be upfront with customers about what speeds to expect during peak times. This is because broadband is typically not as fast during the busiest times of the day: 8:00pm – 10:00pm for people online at home, and 12:00pm – 2:00pm for businesses," the regulator said.

BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, which together serve around 95% of home broadband customers in the UK, are signatories to the new code.