Ofcom Proposes Compensation Plan for Openreach Customers

UK regulator Ofcom has proposed a series of requirements for BT Group PLC’s Openreach service to compensate customers where it fails to provide and repair services according to agreed targets.

The Office of Communications’ annual report into BT’s compliance with the undertakings it agreed in 2005, which were designed to give rivals equal access to its network of local phone lines, was complimentary on progress the company has made to date.

But the report also identified actions the ring-fenced Openreach can take to compensate all communications providers (including BT’s own retail divisions).

These include paying out compensation proactively, paying out each time services fall below contractual levels rather than just as an average over time, continuing to pay compensation if the problem persists with no upper limit of the amount to be paid, and doubling the amount currently paid for failure to activate ‘live’ lines.

Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards, said: ‘BT’s progress in implementing the undertakings has made a very real contribution to the development of the UK telecoms market.

‘These measures will benefit all business and residential consumers and all competitive communications providers that use BT’s network,’ he added.

Established in the wake of the 2005 regulatory probe into BT, Openreach controls the ‘last mile’ of copper lines connecting houses and businesses to the telecoms network.