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Seven of the UK's leading business broadband providers have signed up to a new code drawn up by Ofcom.

The regulator wants the industry to agree to give firms clearer and more accurate information on broadband speeds before they enter into a contract.

ofcom building

It has therefore drawn up a voluntary code outlining the responsibilities of business broadband providers.

The code also calls on organisations to commit to giving customers the freedom to exit a contract if broadband speeds fall below a minimum guaranteed level.

BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM, TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and ZEN - who collectively service around two-thirds of SMEs with standard broadband - have signed up to the code.

The Federation of Small Businesses has hailed the move, saying the code of practice is a "timely and well targeted intervention" in the business broadband market.

Mike Cherry, Policy Director at the body, commented: "To plan effectively, firms need accurate information on what speeds they can expect, and how much this will vary. 

"Business owners should be able easily to compare suppliers and exit a contract early if their communications provider does not deliver the speeds promised."

Mr Cherry went on to stress that a dependable broadband connection is "essential" for nearly every aspect of modern business life, from driving online sales and customer relations to accessing data held in the cloud.

Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom, added that the code will make it easier for businesses to "walk away from their contracts without penalty" if their broadband provider fails to provide the speeds they promise.

She said it will also ensure providers give "clear and reliable information upfront so business customers can make more informed decisions".

According to research by Ofcom, one in five SMEs in the UK are not satisfied they are getting the broadband speeds they are currently paying for.

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