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New OFCOM code helps you get the max from fibre

Thursday, 01 October 2015

New OFCOM Code of Practice for internet service providers (ISPS)

Frequently Asked Questions.

Why has OFCOM set up the new code of practice?

OFCOM want Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to give clear and accurate information on home broadband speeds, so they have asked them to sign up to an updated voluntary Code of Practice on how they present broadband speeds to you.

Is the new code operational now?

Yes. The updated code (version 3.0) is effective from 1 October 2015. There is a transitional period to allow ISPs to update their systems and this runs until 31st January 2016.

What is it important for me to know?
You should know what to expect of your ISP and what you can ask them to do. Knowledge of the Code will help you get the most out of your ISP.

So what information should I expect to get from my ISP?

The new Code says that ISPs should:

give  you an estimate of the maximum speed you can get;

provide a ‘line checker’ on their website that estimates the maximum speed a customer can expect, and make sure this figure is clearly shown;

not ask you to give your  financial details or to pay until you have been told your estimated speed

explain clearly and simply how other factors may slow down the speed you get, including making you aware of any ‘fair use’ or ‘traffic management’ policies on their website. (Many ISPs have a ‘fair use’ policy which may mean you can only use your service within certain limits. Others may also take steps to manage the highs and lows of ‘traffic’ on their networks – this is called ‘traffic management’ policies)

they should also where possible, help you to measure your usage, and email you details of any penalties for going over your limit.

In addition, under the revised code, ISPs using technology that means that customers may not get the maximum advertised speed will be required to release customers from their contract at any time if they suffer from speeds below the “minimum guaranteed access line speed” and the problems cannot be resolved. Your ISP will provide information to you on the “minimum guaranteed access line speed”.

What if I do not get the speeds I expected?

If you are not experiencing the speeds you expected, you should speak to your ISP. Every ISP commits to providing help with managing speed problems. They must have trustworthy systems to find the cause of a speed problem, take steps to fix any issue that is down to them and explain if you can do something yourself to improve the situation. (You can also find some advice on this on our own website. See our Top Tips article)

For more information on the new OFCOM code of practive, visit the Ofcom website