UK providers pay £20 million in compensation as “outage capitals” named

UK providers pay £20 million in compensation as “outage capitals” named

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Five UK service providers paid out automatic compensation worth more than £20 million between July and December 2019.

BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet all signed up to the Ofcom scheme when it launched in April 2019 and since then have compensated customers in excess of £20.7 million, across almost 600,000 payments.

The figures, released by Ofcom, covered delayed repairs following a loss of service (£8/ calendar day), missed repair or provision appointments (£25/ appointment), and delays to the start of a new service (£5/ calendar day).

Breaking down the payments, £9.7 million was paid for delayed repairs following loss of service, £1.6 million for missed appointments and £9.5 million for delayed provision of a new service.

Ofcom said the new figures were “notably higher” than the compensation paid by all providers before the scheme launched. Elsewhere in its report, the regulator further noted that most providers took an average of two days to resolve faults where there was a total loss of service, and the majority were able to resolve nine out of 10 faults within a week.

Meanwhile, NTT DATA UK conducted its own survey, which concluded that 33% of broadband customers in the UK felt “left behind” during lockdown because of internet connection quality.

The firm's Roei Haberman, SVP of sales transformation and head of TMT, said: “Innovation will be the main priority for the industry moving forwards, with new frontiers being explored, such as the use of artificial intelligence for network capacity planning. It’s innovations like this which will keep operators responsive and ahead of future network challenges.”

The findings back observations shared by ThousandEyes, which was recently acquired by Cisco. It launched its first Internet Performance Report earlier this month, showing that disruptions were up 63% in March 2020 over January, and remained elevated through the first half of 2020 compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The news also coincided with new data from which confirmed that five million UK consumers had suffered a broadband outage lasting more than three hours in the last year.

CommScope’s SVP of international, Phil Sorsky, said: “This latest research shines a light on the critical need for reliable broadband connectivity. We’re in an unprecedented time. Millions of people are now relying on connectivity to work and communicate, and for small businesses and remote workers, a consistent broadband connection could ultimately be the difference between success and failure. Over the past few months, speedy and reliable broadband has become a crucial part of everyday lives.

“It is only by delivering fibre-based broadband that we can adequately allocate enough bandwidth for everybody to maximise both their professional and leisure requirements, and reduce the risk of potential outages,” Sorsky said.

Further, that research named Bristol as the UK’s “outage capital” with 169 hours of internet loss recorded. At more than 54 hours, the longest single outage was recorded in Leeds, while London had the highest number of outages at more than seven within the last year. At the other end of the scale, Cardiff, Wales, was praised for the reliability of its connection.

Sorsky added: “While we’ll need to pay close attention to the nation’s ‘outage capitals’, such as Bristol and London, it’s also important to focus on addressing the lack of broadband infrastructure in rural non-spots. As we upgrade our connectivity as a nation, we must ensure these areas are not left further behind by the impact of lockdown and have the necessary fibre and wireless technology to enable greater growth and the ability to work remotely throughout the UK.” 




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