Some broadband customers to get automatic compensation
Many customers who experience fixed broadband or landline loss will soon automatically receive compensation.
The £8-per-day deal follows a new agreement between Openreach and five of the UK’s internet service providers.
It will apply only when the fault takes longer than two days to fix.
If an engineer does not arrive on schedule, or cancels within 24 hours, the compensation will be £25. There will also be £5-per-day offered for new services not starting on time.
BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have all agreed to the plan, which is not compulsory for the industry.
Plusnet and EE have also previously suggested that they will sign up.
The deal follows industry watchdog Ofcom releasing details of its voluntary automatic compensation code of practice in November 2017, which set the payout rate.
It said at the time it would allow a 15-month implementation period for the new system meaning it should be ready in early 2019.
Openreach said it would pay compensation even when others prevented it from accessing its network – if, for example, a vehicle is parked in front of a cabinet or it is unable to access a pole on private land. But it said it would not pay in the event of “measures beyond reasonable control”, such as flooding.
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However, the internet service providers who have signed up may still be obliged to pay in those cases, said journalist and IT consultant Mark Jackson, writing on the website ISPreview.
“Openreach’s steadfast position not to pay out during ‘force majeure-type events’ has caused some irritation, particularly while Ofcom continues to insist that retail ISPs will have to cover the cost of that themselves,” he wrote.
Mr Jackson also noted that most faults are fixed within two days, meaning that compensation will not apply.
Both home and small and medium business customers will be eligible.
Openreach said in a statement that it has offered compensation for broadband failures since 2008.
“We have fully supported Ofcom’s voluntary code of practice since its inception, and are pleased to have reached an agreement with those communication providers intending to offer automatic compensation,” it said.
A spokesman for the regulator said: “We’re pleased this agreement has been reached, following our intervention to secure automatic compensation for customers facing problems such as delays and missed appointments.”