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Broadband providers should automatically compensate customers who receive a poor service, a new report has argued.

In its new Broadbad 2.0 report, the British Infrastructure Group (BIG) said industry regulator Ofcom should consider fixed broadband speeds in a system of automatic compensation.

Grant Shapps, chair of the body, said this is necessary because the voluntary agreements currently in place between broadband providers and Ofcom to ensure customers are compensated for poor service "do not hold providers to account".

"This means that broadband customers often end up enduring unnecessarily lengthy complaints procedures if something goes wrong with their service," he commented.

However, the report stressed that an automatic compensation scheme will only be effective if customers know about it.

Indeed, the BIG noted that broadband customers are often not aware of the differences in customer service procedures used by various providers.

As a result, it believes broadband companies must "take responsibility for communicating details of their procedures for making complaints and claiming compensation in a clear and concise manner, in order to improve accountability and transparency in the telecoms sector".

The BIG report also found that up to 6.7 million connections in the UK fall short of the proposed minimum standard of 10Mbps.

Shapps has therefore urged ministers to "build on their progress of introducing minimum standards for broadband providers, by progressing secondary legislation that will set the terms for a Universal Service Obligation".

He said it is "unacceptable" that many households and businesses still cannot receive fast internet, adding that the lack of minimum standards in the sector "represents a worrying picture for post-Brexit Britain's competitiveness".

Responding to the report, Ofcom said it shares BIG's concerns that broadband needs to improve.

A spokesman insisted it is taking firm and wide-ranging action to safeguard customers, including drawing up new plans for automatic compensation, faster repairs and installations.

The Ofcom representative added that it is also ensuring providers commit to giving accurate speed information to customers.

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