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From next week, Openreach will be required to carry out faster line repairs and installations for telephone and broadband customers.

Ofcom has confirmed that new performance standards will apply to the firm - which installs and maintains connections to BT's network - from Tuesday July 1st.

Under the changes, 70 per cent of phone and broadband faults will have to be repaired within two working days, rising to around 80 per cent by 2018.

And 55 per cent of customers requiring a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days, rising to 80 per cent by 2016.

If Openreach fails to meet the new targets, it will face sanctions - potentially including fines - from Ofcom.

Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said the new performance standards are a "very welcome" crack of the whip on Openreach.

"Anyone who has waited for their broadband or phone to be fixed for weeks on end will have felt at the mercy of their provider, whilst paying for a service they couldn't use," he stated.

Mr Taylor-Gibson claimed that broadband is increasingly considered "an essential utility" in the UK.

"With more and more people working from home, good broadband connectivity is no longer seen as a luxury, but vital for people’s livelihoods as well as education, and even has an effect on house prices," he stated.

According to Mr Taylor-Gibson, the fact that Ofcom is setting its sights on improving line repairs and installations is "good news for consumers".

"Slashing the time it takes for this to be done should alleviate any worries people have about losing their connections while switching providers," he stated.

"It will also lay to rest customers' fears of living without internet connections while waiting for an engineer to repair faults with their lines."

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