Business Broadband Code of Practice

Published: 25 January 2016

From 30 September 2016, businesses with standard broadband who are customers of one of seven providers currently signed up to Ofcom's Voluntary Code of Practice for Business Broadband Speeds, will benefit from a number of new protections.

Here we provide a quick overview of the Code and responses to some frequently asked questions:

Broadband services are fundamental to all businesses, but there can be some confusion for business customers about the actual speeds that can be achieved by their broadband services compared with the “up to” maximum speeds advertised. Ofcom also found that a fifth of SMEs were not satisfied they were getting the speeds they had paid for, and that some providers did not give individual estimated speeds upfront.

The Code aims to provide business customers with accurate and transparent speed information on standard business broadband services at point of sale.

The Code requires signatories to manage business customers' speed-related problems, and allow customers to exit the contract without penalty if download speed falls and remains below a minimum guaranteed speed.

  • Internet service providers (ISPs) will provide estimates of expected download and upload access line speeds (and throughput speeds, where available) as early as possible during the sales process and in any event prior to the customer agreeing to purchase the service.
  • After the sale, ISPs will provide all relevant speed-related information in writing.
  • ISPs must manage businesses' speed problems effectively and offer them assistance in resolving the issue.
  • ISPs will offer customers a right to exit the contract without penalty if download speed falls and remains below a minimum guaranteed access line speed, after the ISP and the customer have had an opportunity to resolve the speed problem.
  • This applies to standard broadband services supported by ADSL and fibre-to-the cabinet.

Currently BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM (Hull business), TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and Zen are signatories.

The Code applies regardless of the business size.

The Code applies to all standard business broadband services across all technologies (ADSL, cable, fibre to the cabinet, fibre to the premises, wireless and satellite).

Some aspects of the Code are technology-specific – e.g. certain provisions on line speed information and contract release do not apply to fibre-to-the-premises, and cable, for which speed performance is less variable.

The Code does not apply to technologies and services where speeds are guaranteed and/or the customer has a dedicated connection.

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