Belfast Telegraph

Suppliers in pledge over better broadband

By Holly Williams

Telecoms giants BT, Talk Talk and Virgin Media have agreed to draw up a new code of practice with watchdog Ofcom to improve broadband services to small businesses.

The communications regulator said the three suppliers, which account for the majority of business broadband users in the UK, would look to offer commitments on speed and service.

It comes after Ofcom found last June that only 56% of the UK's 5.2 million small and medium-sized businesses had access to superfast broadband.

Small firms are less well served than residential customers, with 75% of households having access to the high-speed service.

And the regulator said a fifth of small businesses were unhappy at not being able to access the broadband speeds they were led to expect.

It hopes a code of practice agreed by three of the biggest suppliers will help address this problem and improve the level of information and advice about actual broadband speeds.

The code will be similar to the existing code for consumers, which requires those selling an internet service to give the customer an accurate estimate of the actual speed they will receive.

But the business code may include other commitments, such as for upload speeds - particularly important to small firms - and download speeds.

Ofcom said it aims to publish the code in the autumn.

As well as the agreement with suppliers, Ofcom is also calling for joint action between the regulator, industry and government.

Belfast Telegraph