Openreach must hit new targets from next week
- Rules for faster broadband and telephone repairs and installations from 1 July
New rules to bring about faster line repairs and installations for telephone and broadband customers will come into effect on 1 July, Ofcom announced today.
From that date, new performance standards will apply to Openreach, the company that installs and maintains connections to BT's network on behalf of competing providers.
Under the changes, the majority of phone and broadband faults will have to be repaired within two working days, while most customers requiring a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days. Should Openreach fail to meet the new targets, the company will face sanctions from Ofcom, which could include fines.
How the targets will work
From next Tuesday, 1 July, as a minimum Openreach must over the course of a given year:
- complete around 70% of fault repairs within one to two working days of being notified. This requirement will rise to around 80% by 2016;
- provide an appointment for around 55% of new line installations that require an engineer visit within 12 working days of being notified. This requirement will also rise to around 80% by 2016;
- make clear the timeframe in which it is currently completing any remaining repairs or installations, to provide reassurance to consumers about how long the work is likely to take; and
- report publicly on its performance. Openreach must publish quarterly reports on its website from October at the latest. These reports will provide clear, meaningful and transparent information about how long Openreach is taking to repair faults and install new lines, allowing consumers to keep track of the company's performance. Ofcom will monitor Openreach's service levels and intervene further if necessary.
Boosting superfast broadband competition
Today's statement is part of Ofcom's Fixed Access Market Reviews, a wide-ranging set of decisions in the UK wholesale telecoms markets used by companies to offer telephone and broadband services to consumers.
Following review by the European Commission, Ofcom will implement decisions in the Reviews announced last month, including:
- reducing the wholesale charge paid when a consumer changes superfast broadband provider, from £50 to £11. This will allow providers to offer lower retail start-up fees to consumers, helping to promote competition in the growing superfast broadband market; and
- cutting the minimum length of the wholesale contract between providers when a customer switches superfast broadband supplier, from a year to one month. This will provide flexibility for telecoms providers to offer shorter retail contracts.
ENDSNOTES FOR EDITORS
- Openreach targets will be adjusted slightly to deal with instances where external factors beyond Openreach's reasonable control (such as extreme weather) mean it is not possible to meet the service standard. The targets allow that up to 3% of repairs and 1% of installations in a typical year might be delayed due to such factors.
- Around 25-30% of new line orders typically require an engineer visit. The new target of 12 working days will apply to these jobs. Installations not requiring a visit are usually completed within two working days.
- The targets apply to the two main Openreach services, which allow competing providers to access BT's network: wholesale line rental and fully unbundled lines. The targets do not apply to other products - such as fibre broadband, where BT has generally met or exceeded its service level agreements. However, Ofcom may set targets for other services in future if performance were to become a concern.