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Citizens Advice has urged the government to establish a telecoms consumers advocate, who will speak up on their behalf.

According to research by the body, six in ten broadband customers have experienced either a slow service or a total loss of connectivity in the last year.

As a result, 24 per cent saw their ability to work or study disrupted, while 16 per cent were unable to pay bills or manage their finances online.

In addition, 21 per cent said their unreliable broadband service harmed their ability to connect with friends and family.

The impact of telecoms service issues was found to be particularly acute among younger adults, with one in three 25 to 34-year-olds saying poor or no service has a fair or great impact on their ability to work or study.

Figures from Citizens Advice also showed that broadband customers spent an average of 2.4 hours attempting to resolve issues with their broadband connection.

Meanwhile, one in four respondents said they were not confident their broadband provider would be able to resolve service issues quickly.

Citizens Advice has therefore urged the government to create a telecoms consumer advocate in its upcoming Consumer Green Paper.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citzens Advice, said: "People now rely on their broadband and mobile connection for the day-to-day running of their lives.

"The Consumer Green Paper is an opportunity to strengthen the voices of telecoms consumers by establishing a consumer advocate in broadband and mobile markets to reflect how essential these services are to people.”

This comes shortly after industry regulator Ofcom announced that broadband and landline customers must be compensated if a fault is not repaired, an engineer fails to turn up for a scheduled appointment or if a new broadband or landline service is not working on the day it was promised.

Under the new system, consumers will receive £8 for each day that a fault is not repaired and £25 compensation if an engineer does not turn up for a scheduled appointment.

Providers must also pay £5 a day if a broadband or landline service is not working on the day it was promised.

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