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Ofcom scheme to oversee broadband faults

House of Lords want change to Digital Economy Bill

The House of Lords wants Ofcom to create a scheme to deal with complaints and faults regarding broadband connections.

Lord Laird has requested a change to the Digital Economy Bill, which is currently being discussed by the House of Lords and also includes proposals on how to tackle internet piracy, in a bid to stop ISPs and BT Wholesale passing the buck when it comes to dealing with internet connection problems.

The House of Lords said the move would "place responsibility for every complaint or request with either the broadband service provider or the owner of the communication cable".

It is also hoped the proposed scheme will ensure broadband speeds remain the same or faster after repairs and upgrades have been carried out.

Lord Eroll said consumers were confused when it came to getting faults rectified because of the buck-passing.

"You are paying BT Retail for the line, and you are paying an ISP to provide you with broadband over that line. It gets a service from BT Wholesale, which runs what is called the backhaul from the exchange onto the main internet. [BT] Openreach is responsible for maintaining and fixing any faults on the line," said Lord Eroll.

"There are four service entities involved, and there may be more. There are Chinese walls between these, and there is a lot of buck-passing."

Ofcom has already granted approval for the CISAS and OTELO schemes, which aim to resolve broadband disputes.

However, it takes both organisations a minimum of eight weeks before they investigate an initial complaint.

See also: Digital Economy Bill could wipe out free Wi-Fi

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