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More than a third of those who move house face delays in getting their broadband up and running, a new study has found.

According to research by Citizens Advice, many people who are relocating to a new property can be left without a working internet connection for weeks after the date promised by their provider.

Some 15 per cent of those who transferred or set up a new service after moving said their internet was slow or unreliable when initiated.

Figures also showed that 11 per cent had to wait for engineers on multiple occasions, while nine per cent had to deal with engineers' appointments being rescheduled.

Meanwhile, eight per cent of those who tried to set up their broadband in their new home received a router that did not work properly, and a further five per cent did not receive one at all.

Citizens Advice has therefore urged Ofcom to introduce mandatory automatic compensation for customers who are affected by delays.

Earlier this year, the telecoms watchdog proposed new regulations that would require telecoms firms to automatically pay out to customers if they experience missed deadlines, slow repairs, or if an appointment is not kept.

Estimates from Ofcom suggest this could result in as much as £182 million in extra compensation being paid out annually, with households set to get £30 if they wait in for an engineer, only for them to fail to arrive or for the appointment to be cancelled at short notice.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, commented: "Moving house can be a difficult and stressful experience and delays in getting the internet can make this worse, if providers fail to keep to promised dates or engineering visits don’t materialise. 

"Broadband is now such an essential service that people moving house will often rely on it for crucial tasks, like changing their address for household bills or ordering essentials."

Guy argued it is "fundamentally unfair" that, in some cases, customers end up paying for a service they do not receive for "weeks or even months at a time after moving".

This, she said, means it is important for Ofcom to hold providers to account for "breaking promises" to their customers and press ahead with its mandatory automatic compensation scheme.

"This would make it clear to people what they are entitled to when they get poor service and put an end to customers having to negotiate how much they get back for their wasted time," she stated.

BT, Virgin Media and Sky have responded to Ofcom's proposal by jointly suggesting a voluntary scheme in which providers could determine when consumers should be compensated and how much should be paid out.

Citizens Advice is concerned that this option would be worse for customers than the original proposal, as the total size of the payouts would be at least £52 million - or 32 per cent - lower.

The organisation has therefore called on Ofcom not to back down in the face of industry pressure.

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