A new deal reached between infrastructure supplier Openreach and some of the UK's biggest broadband providers should help ensure that consumers are automatically compensated if their internet connection goes down.
From early next year, a new voluntary code from Ofcom will require firms to reimburse customers if they suffer a loss of fixed broadband and phone connectivity.
This will see affected users entitled to £8 per day for delayed repairs following a loss of broadband service, assuming any fault isn’t fixed within two working days. Missed appointments will also attract compensation of £25 and a delay to the start of a new service is £5 per day.
However, ISPReview.co.uk notes that the system places the onus for this on broadband suppliers, which have concerns that they will be left on the hook for outages at the network layer that they have no control over. This is usually the responsibility of Openreach - excepting for suppliers such as Virgin Media that run their own infrastructure.
Openreach has been reluctant to reimburse providers for some issues on its network, especially "force majeure" events, such as damage caused by extreme weather.
ISPReview.co.uk reports that the firm has now improved its offer to suppliers. While it has not yet addressed every concern, it could nevertheless help ensure that any faults are fixed faster in the future.
A spokesperson for Openreach told the website that compensation will be paid when any delays caused by the company occur, including where its engineers are prevented from accessing the network by third parties. However, measures said to be beyond the firm's reasonable control, such as flooding, will still not be eligible for automatic compensation.
"Automatic compensation is the right thing to do for customers, and that’s why we’ve been proactively compensating our wholesale customers for every appointment we miss, and any delays to repairs and provisions, since 2008," the spokesperson said.