Wednesday, June 4, 2008

UK Establishes Code of Practice for ISPs

Ofcom, the official regulator for the UK telecom market, published a new Code of Practice to ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) offer greater clarity over customers' broadband line speeds. The need for such a Code of Practice arises over concern that consumers could be misled or misinformed by ISPs advertising headline speeds that are higher than users can receive in practice. Already, 37 ISPs, representing roughly 80 percent of the broadband market in the UK, have agreed to respect the code.

Ofcom's Code of Practice

Steps that fixed-line ISPs are required to take under the voluntary Code include:

  • providing customers at the point of sale with an accurate estimate of the maximum speed that the line can support, whether it is in the shop, over the internet or on the phone;

  • resolving technical issues to improve speed and offering customers the choice to move onto a lower speed package when estimates given are inaccurate;

  • ensuring all sales and promotion staff have a proper understanding of the products they are selling so they can explain to their customers the meaning of the estimates provided at the point of sale; and

  • providing consumers with information on usage limits and alerting customers when they have breached them.

See also