OFCOM do have a code of practice on broadband speeds. We (AAISP) don't subscribe to this (it is voluntary) for good reason, and we actually have our own code which we think is better.
This is a bit of a repeat of a rant from years ago really, but I was reminded of this as one of the comments broadbandchoices made to ASA was that they expected ISPs to sign up to the voluntary code of practice on speeds. This could be a snag. I am not sure I want to sign up.
Basically, any ISPs signed up to this are saying that at least 10% of their customers have a fault!
That is not really a statement I am prepared to make.
It comes from 26(c) which defines the minimum guaranteed access line speed as "If asked to explain further or asked to state the definition of
"significantly below", the ISP should provide information on the access
line speed achieved by the bottom 10th percentile (or above) of the
ISP's similar customers ("the minimum guaranteed access line speed") and
explain that if the customer's actual access line speed is below the
minimum guaranteed access line speed, then it will follow the process
set out in the 4th Principle."
The 4th principle allows customers to leave a contract with no penalty (within 3 months of sign up) if their line is below this minimum. In fact, it has wording in 32(a)(ii) that is "Log the problem as a technical fault if the actual access line speed is at or below the minimum guaranteed access line speed".
What is also rather annoying is that OFCOM do not force BTW to reflect this requirement and allow ISPs out of the 12 month min term for FTTC services. This means 10% of FTTC customers where there is no actual line fault are considered faulty, the ISP cannot actually do anything as the line gets what speed it gets, and the ISP loses out as it has to pay BTW for 12 months anyway.
Granted, there will be lines that have faults, but just because lines are slow does not mean there is in fact a fault. DSL is a rate adaptive service. 10% of lines will be at or slower than the 10th percentile. It is just like people getting cross that half the population are below average!
There are grey areas - how does one define "similar customers" and the like, but the more narrowly you define it the more people end up "at or below" that 10th percentile. Indeed, all FTTH customers in each speed class are at or below the 10th percentile as the speed is not variable. It is was just "below" as 26(c) implies, not "at or below" as defined in 32(a)(ii) then there would be some hope - ISPs can define "similar customers" to be "customers getting exactly the same speed as you" and so have zero customers that are below the 10th percentile, making a mockery of the code of practice.
What this means is that at least 10% of customers on any ISPs signed up to the OFCOM code of practice are operating at or below the minimum guaranteed access line speed and this has to be considered to be a fault.
To be honest, I think this makes us more likely to be considered one of the "best ISPs" than those that do sign up to the code, as we don't have anything like 10% of our customers that we define to be faulty! Why do these ISPs agree to such a crazy statement?
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