Statement published 17 December 2020
In October 2020, we confirmed a package of new customer protections that implement changes to European rules. At the same time, we consulted on some minor changes to our existing rules, to ensure clarity and consistency in the terminology and definitions used within them. We also consulted on some minor changes to reflect the end of the transition period under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.
Today we have published our final decisions on these minor changes, as well as our final notification of the changes we are making to our regulatory rules to implement the customer protections in the European Electronic Communications Code and revised consolidated versions of our rules.
We have today published a revised version of Annex 5 to our October 2020 statement in order to make a correction to Table 4 of the Annex. The correction reinserts reference to General Condition (GC) C2.19 (which was erroneously omitted) and clarifies that GC C2.19 continues to apply in respect of those customers to which GC C1.3 (regarding the provision of Contract Information) will not apply. We have also clarified that the changes to GCs C2.18 and C2.19 (new GC C2.15) relating to the provision of Contract Information under GC C1.3 will come into effect in June 2022, alongside new GC C1.3.
In May 2019 we confirmed new rules that mean broadband, phone and pay TV customers who are out-of-contract must be sent reminders every year showing them the best deals available. And in December 2019, we proposed a further package of measures to protect customers and help ensure they get a fair deal. These measures and proposals responded to changes to the European regulatory framework, which the Government has confirmed will be implemented by 21 December 2020. We are now consulting on two revised proposals before we publish our final decisions in Autumn 2020.
We invite responses to this consultation by 11 September 2020. We intend to publish a statement setting out our decision on the revised proposals contained in this document, as well as those set out in our December 2019 consultation, in Autumn 2020.
On 24 March 2020, Ofcom published information on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the sectors it regulates. This recognised the vital role that these sectors are playing, and the need for providers to prioritise support for people and businesses.
We also recognised that our planned work programme would need to be adapted and rescheduled, so that stakeholders can focus on business-critical matters. As part of this, we noted that industry implementation of new obligations may need to be delayed.
The Government and Ofcom continue to work towards transposition of the European Electronic Communications Code (EECC) by 21 December 2020. To this end, Ofcom plans to publish a statement on implementation of the end-user rights aspects of the EECC in September 2020, subject to the Government confirming its approach to EECC transposition before then.
However, we recognise that, given the very challenging circumstances we are currently in as a result of the coronavirus crisis, providers are likely to need additional time to make the necessary changes to their systems and processes to bring themselves into compliance with the new rules. We therefore intend to allow providers at least 12 months from the date of the publication of our statement to implement these new rules. We may allow longer where very significant changes need to be made by providers. We will set out the industry implementation deadlines by provision when we publish our statement.
We are providing this update to stakeholders in advance of our final decisions so that providers can take this into account now. Otherwise, they would need to start planning the necessary systems and process changes, which would be difficult given the current need to focus their resources on supporting people and businesses.
We have amended some references to ‘ultrafast broadband’ to provide greater clarity on the services to which some of our proposals apply.
|[A response to minor changes consultation] BT (PDF File, 486.7 KB)||Organisation|
|[A response to minor changes consultation] FCS (PDF File, 145.4 KB)||Organisation|
|[A response to minor changes consultation] Openreach (PDF File, 236.2 KB)||Organisation|
|[Response to further consultation] BT (PDF File, 204.9 KB)||Organisation|
|[Response to further consultation] Business carrier coalition (PDF File, 122.3 KB)||Organisation|