Ofcom expects providers to resolve network faults, however caused, as quickly as possible. The regulator also expects providers to deal fairly and sympathetically with consumers who experience a loss of service as a result of network issues. This could include giving compensation or by allowing customers to exit their contract without penalty.
The Communications Act requires telecoms providers to take appropriate measures to protect the security and resilience of their networks and services. When a security or availability incident occurs which has a significant impact on the operation of a network or service, the legislation requires the provider to report this to Ofcom. Ofcom monitors these reports closely and has the power to intervene if they believe a provider is not taking the appropriate measures.
Ofcom has imposed minimum targets on Openreach requiring 80% of fault repairs to be completed within one to two working days of being notified and the company to report publicly on its performance, allowing Ofcom to monitor and intervene if required.
Consumers can pursue claims for compensation caused by line outages by contacting their communications providers. If they are unhappy with the outcome of their complaint or how their complaint has been handled, they are able to pursue the case through the registered Alternative Dispute Resolution service – a free and impartial service that Ofcom requires all communications providers to have in place.