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Broadband providers Set to Pay Millions in Compensation, Find out Why

Rinky Dink Inc

Ofcom, the UK telecom regulator, has come out with a very likeable suggestion. This suggestion may not be favourable for the telecom providers, but it sure is for you, as a consumer. According to Ofcom, Telecom providers should be held accountable for delays in services and repairs offered by them. Such delays may result in a huge loss to the consumer, who could be at a paucity of time and would need their work done as soon as possible.

According to estimates, carried out by major research channels the UK Economy lost over £11 Billion in 2015. An average worker in the UK isn't able to complete his stipulated tasks due to such interruptions. The productive hours lost have been put at over 44 minutes per worker per week, attributed to slow broadband speeds as well as the perpetual dormancy.

What could you expect from this announcement, as a consumer?

According to Ofcom, such erring companies, and broadband providers may end up paying over £185 Million in compensation to victimised consumers. Such Customers number a whopping 2.6 Million and are well on their way to benefitting immensely from this deal. If you had to ever endure such a mental trauma from one of the erring companies, then you are bound to benefit, and hence should pay close attention to this announcement.

After all, a disruption in broadband or wireless services could prove to be the most ill-fated moment of our lives. Without a continuous connection to the internet through our devices, we seem to be at a loss and are riled by gloom. This is quite reprehensible and needs to be avoided at all costs. Hence, the decision taken by Ofcom is quite beneficial for us as consumers and may well teach the telecom behemoths to mend their ways, or face the music!

This rule would be implemented in the scenario when the broadband provider is at fault and ends up relegating the blame onto the user. If the Telecom provider isn't able to send their servicemen, or engineers on time. Then, they are liable to pay compensation to their users, based on the time lost, and the number of downtime hours that the user had to face. This is a fair way to deal with it, after all, the user's time is also important, a detail many providers find trivial or unimportant.

Statistics, like the one mentioned above, has always belied the claims made by broadband providers. They claim that there is no loss of productivity, based on the "low" downtimes that their services have. A claim that has been widely refuted by many researchers, as well as everyday users. A downtime of even 10 minutes per user per week could end up hurting an institution beyond repair. Hence, the decision was rightly taken!

What do the new guidelines state?

According to the announcement made by Ofcom, if a broadband provider fails on any of three parameters mentioned below. Then it is bound by law to provide compensation, such a compensation may be provided either as a refund in the bill or directly to credit cards and bank accounts of victimised customers. The guidelines are,

- When the customer's landline or Internet connection isn't fixed quickly enough, then the company is liable to pay compensation to the tune of the value stipulated by the regulator.

- If any new connection isn't up and working by the due date provided. Such a case also results in monetary losses to the consumer and acts as a hindrance towards maximal productivity.

- The most important prospect, that led to the formation of this law. The delay in procuring servicemen and engineers, as this is the most general of issues, and needs to be resolved at earnest.

The compensatory figures quoted by Ofcom have been backed by examples, this would help broadband providers decide on the timeline and deliberate amongst themselves on how quickly a service is to be carried out. One example given by Ofcom stated thus, "If a broadband provider isn't able to fix the connections beyond 2 working days, then the amount that it's liable to pay is £10".

"If an engineer isn't present for the appointment, or cancels it without providing a 24 hours prior notice, then the provider is liable to pay £30 to the customer". "If the provider fails to start the service within the agreed time, then it is liable to pay a compensation to the tune of £6, for every extra delayed day". These guidelines are bound to provide the ISP's with a set of rules to look forward to and to base their assumptions on. After all, no ISP would want to lose money, isn't it?

How was the proposal received?

The proposal has been received well by the general public, as well as the customers. There was a slew of positive comments populating the social media space, congratulating the telecom regulator on this "remarkable" judgment. With many shooting for more such judgments. After all, such judgments are the need of the hour, to ascertain that the broadband providers climb off the high horse that they have surmounted all these years. And are held accountable for their inactions.

Even though some critics believed that the compensation was a bit too less, a "measly" £30 per delayed work day. It is hard to ignore the fact that it all adds up, to a substantially big amount, which when put together may break the provider' banks. Hence, you as a consumer would have much to gain, if this proposal is to be religiously implemented and the rules that have been formulated are carried out well. Then, we have much to gain, based on the time saved and the retention of the productive hours that are inadvertently lost.

Many telecom majors like BT, Sky and Virgin media have come together to propose a set of guideline to follow. They have created these guidelines to decide and deliberate upon the compensation routes that they plan to follow, in the case of any errors. And the way they are to dole out such compensations. Though, this proposal has been refuted by Ofcom, due to it being too "flimsy" and not sticking to the guidelines, as has been mooted by the regulator. The broadband providers have been told to rethink their proposal, and to submit its rejuvenated form is the shortest duration possible, with the proper implementation of rules.

Although, some broadband providers like Vodafone and TalkTalk declined to sign this proposal. This was based on their assumption that it is a direct challenge to their rights as "persons", a right guaranteed by the British constitution, wherein an entity could claim itself to be a person. And, then enjoy the rights doled out on the citizens of UK. While a Virgin Media spokesman agreed to the proposal, stating that such proposals may help the industry progress further.

According to the Minister of state for digital and culture, Matt Hancock, these guidelines were the need of the hour. He said, "Many people suffer from such interruptions caused by broadband and internet downtimes, which results in them being cut off from people they value in life. With the changed guidelines they wouldn't have to wait for extraordinary durations of time, just to talk to their family, friends, relatives or close acquaintances." And hailed the proposal as a step in the right direction!

What was the basis for the proposal?

The proposal as put to paper by Ofcom was based on the fact that there have been over 7.2 million instances of such interruptions, spread out across the industry. Which has lead to humongous losses both in monetary as well as productive terms. This was the basis for the £185 million figure that Ofcom had decided on. While, only 1.1 million subscribers were compensated by the erring providers, to the tune of a measly £16.3 million being given out as compensation.

This was a far cry from the compensation amount that was decided by the Telcom aggregator. After all, these telcos are known to give a very hard time to us, and usually, back down when it comes to paying up compensatory amounts. This may be the coerced "impetus" that they need to mend their ways and to stop putting themselves above the law of the land. Our time is also very important, and shouldn't be overlooked, in an attempt to benefit such telcos, who find it hard to correct their path.

Also, till recently only 15% of us used to be compensated for the lost time. As the broadband providers were under no liability by the law to pay up and used to do it based on their "magnanimity". These proposals would bound them under the law and would make it binding on them to pay the compensation, based on the guidelines provided by the Telecom Regulator. This step is genuinely one that was taken in the right direction!

According to more figures put out by Ofcom, over 250,000 appointments are never kept by the engineers. And even if such appointments are kept, they are usually delayed beyond our control and sanity! Without providing us with a proper deadline for completion, or a set framework to work on. These engineers also give remarkably idiotic reasons for making such delays, reasons like "my cat lost its pop", or "I was very busy today" and more of such idiocy!

Although, these guidelines as put to paper by Ofcom isn't applicable on Mobile telecoms. Ofcom said that they compensate their customers a good amount already, and are also very efficient in doling out their services. With such operators only registering downtimes to the tune of 24 hours or less! So, all your mobile device aren't eligible for these compensations, but there isn;t much to lose, anyways they usually break down, don't they?

How do you benefit from this proposal?

Fewer Disruptions

Lesser disruptions would be a boon from the mighty skies! You wouldn't have to worry about breakdowns leading to interruptions in your services anymore. Due to the fear that has been etched in the hearts of broadband providers, based on this new set of regulations, they are now duty bound to provide you with the best services. If they fail in doing so, then there are consequences to face and a conspicuous slew of fines to handle. This is more than enough to shock them into submission!

Better Speeds

As this regulation includes fixing the "less than quality services" provided by such erring broadband providers. You are bound to have higher speeds! After all, disruptions in the connection and speeds usually go hand in hand, and one doesn't happen without the other. Faster broadband leads to lesser wait times for your favourites to download, and all the streaming that you may ever wanted to do! With its implementation, you are free to splurge as much bandwidth as you like!

Freedom From Headaches

You must have experienced the trauma faced due to calling up your broadband providers again and again. Even after many calls made to them, they are still slower than a slowpoke in fixing your connection. These calls may also involve some heated arguments with the customer care peoples, due to the type of flimsy and idiotic arguments that they are used to making. Now, due to the fear of compensating you for the loss of your time, they would be quick to provide you with any service and repairs that you demand. All those days full of crony arguments would be in the past now!

The advent of these new guidelines marks a change in the way broadband providers would handle you. Now, they wouldn't be able to show their "high-handedness" in dealing with you. This could be a far cry from how we were "dealt" with till now. With the new regulations penalising any discrepancy and disruptions in the services and repairs provided, you are bound to benefit. And, if the provider doesn't mend his ways, then there are consequences to face.

Such monetary compensation is enough to detract such erring broadband providers. Even if they don't mend their ways, you are at no loss whatsoever. After all, they would be liable to pay you hefty compensations, to the tune of £30 per delayed day. Though, these providers could learn from this, as fixing their services would help them acquire more customers, a base they have been religiously losing to Mobile Telephony. It could be a win-win situation for both you and the telecoms!


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