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Written Question
Broadband: Complaints
Wednesday 26th November 2014

Asked by: Angela Watkinson (Conservative - Hornchurch and Upminster)

Question to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport:

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what access arrangements are in place for broadband subscribers to make complaints via Openreach about poor quality of service.

Answered by Lord Vaizey of Didcot

Complaints about poor service should be directed to the communications provider who supplies the broadband service and that customers have a contractual relationship with. Openreach is not a customer-facing organisation; it was created to offer all communications providers providing retail broadband and telephone services equality of access to BT's network.

Openreach is accountable to communications providers to meet its responsibilities to manage the local access network infrastructure that connects customers to their local telephone exchange. Communications providers have a duty of care to manage consumer complaints and ensure that Openreach provides a high quality service.

Customers who are dissatisfied with the handling of their complaint by communications providers have the option of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme. An ADR Scheme is an independent system of redress for customers who feel they have been poorly or unreasonably dealt with by a communications service provider. Ofcom, the independent telecommunications regulator, requires all communications providers to be a member of such a scheme.

Since 1 July Ofcom has applied new rules to bring about faster line repairs and installations for telephone and broadband customers. As a minimum Openreach must, over the course of a given year:

• Complete 80% of fault repairs within one to two working days of being notified, irrespective of factors such as severe weather conditions.

• Provide an appointment for 80% of new line installations within 12 working days of being notified, irrespective of factors such as severe weather conditions.

• Ensure it adheres to these new standards across the country.

• Provide data on repairs and installations that are not completed within this timeframe. This information will allow Ofcom to monitor Openreach’s performance closely and intervene further if required, as this includes the ability to impose fines if necessary.