Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the UK have not been having the best of times recently especially when it comes to customer confidence in their delivery of broadband as advertised. A few weeks ago we saw reports of up to 60 percent of BT cabinets not being enabled, and last week we saw a damning report from Ofcom criticising the way ISPs advertised their services.
Today we have a more positive move with most of the UK’s leading fixed-line and mobile broadband providers signing up to new best practice code promising to "provide customers with greater clarity." BSkyB, BT, O2, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have all signed up for the new code of conduct and together they represent 90 percent of the fixed-line broadband in the UK and 60 percent of the mobile broadband. The one major provider that is missing from the new deal is Everything Everywhere (owner of T-Mobile and Orange) who have said they may sign up in the near future.
What the deal means for broadband customers is that they will be able to access to the different traffic management practices of broadband providers, available in a common format, and information on when and with what impact they are applied. The firms will also publish a “Key Facts Indicator Table” by the end of June, and comply “with a set of good practice principles on providing information to the consumer that is: understandable; appropriate; accessible; current; comparable; and verifiable.”
The Broadband Stakeholder Group, who helped to draw up the agreement, said: “The code will be piloted in 2011 by the signatories and its implementation will be reviewed in early 2012 to fine tune the approach. Interested parties, such as consumer groups, will be invited to provide feedback as part of the review process.” While net neutrality campaigners will believe that ISPs will be taking these voluntary steps in order to delay any regulation coming from the UK or European administrators, for customers at least it should provide some clearer information.
Source: Broadband Stakeholders Group