When people are looking for a new broadband deal, speed isn't the only factor that makes up strong performance.
Reliability and consistency are also hugely important elements to consider when choosing a broadband package. After all, you don't want to suddenly encounter buffering when you're trying to stream the latest Game of Thrones episode or have the service cut out altogether when you're about to win a match of Fortnite for the first time.
Providers need to offer guarantees of service quality if they're to attract and retain customers - and one provider that's seeking to do this with a new initiative is BT.
The UK's largest internet provider recently launched its new 'Stay Fast Guarantee', which will be available for both new and existing customers. BT's new guarantee aims to give much greater reassurances about the speed and reliability of its broadband services, as well as provide expert support for when things go wrong.
As part of this, customers will be given a bespoke speed guarantee when they sign up for BT services or extend an existing contract. This will clearly spell out what performance users should expect based on the estimated capabilities of their individual line.
If BT believes a customer could get a faster line speed, the company will look to remotely optimise broadband performance without the user having to put in a request. Alternatively, an engineer can also be sent to find the best solution for that customer if required.
BT states this will be backed up with round-the-clock monitoring to ensure actual performance is meeting the promised speeds, while customers will also be able to proactively check their own speeds via their My BT account.
If there are any issues, support will be on hand from experts in the UK and Ireland to resolve speed issues quickly and assist customers in getting the most reliable broadband speeds.
What's more, if BT's engineers aren't able to resolve any problems and get speeds back to where they should be within 30 days of a fault being identified, customers will be able to receive up to £20 off their bills, and will be able to claim this up to four times a year if any issues persist.
While BT is highlighting the customer benefits of the Stay Fast Guarantee, another reason for its introduction may well be to ensure the company is able to keep up with its commitments under a new code of practice introduced by Ofcom in March. BT — along with most of the other major broadband providers, including Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk — agreed to Ofcom's Voluntary Speeds Code of Practice.
These rules require providers to offer new customers a personalised estimate of their broadband download and upload speeds, along with the minimum speed they can expect to receive. If this minimum standard is not reached, users have the right to exit their contract without penalty.
With Ofcom also overhauling rules on compensation for faults - with consumers now automatically entitled to money back if faults are not fixed quickly, it could be the case that other providers will follow BT's lead and introduce formal guarantees that spell out what customers can expect when it comes to speed and reliability.
Although not every provider signed up to the Voluntary Speeds Code of Practice, the providers who did cover 95% of consumers, so it's likely that you'll benefit from similar guarantees as well.