Newly appointed Ofcom chief exec Sharon White will today tell the UK’s communications providers that they must serve their customers better.
In the first speech since her appointment White is expected to to say that despite an improvement in customer service levels, people still find it too difficult to change provider and cancel contracts, and are frustrated with customer service.
“When Ofcom was established, access to a reliable internet connection and mobile phone was a ‘nice to have’. Now it is essential to the functioning of the economy, to the way people work and live their lives,” she will tell the consumer organisation Which? “Improving delivery to consumers doesn’t just fall at the feet of the regulator. The delivery of first class communications services is primarily the responsibility of providers.”
The regulator plans to introduce a strengthened Code of Practice on broadband speeds, allowing customers to exit a contract should speeds fall below acceptable levels; and new processes to make switching broadband and landline providers easier. Ofcom also plans to make it easier for consumers to change mobile providers.
Ofcom has secured the backing of the UK’s largest providers: BT, EE, KC in Hull, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media.
From June 20 the process of moving between providers on the Openreach network, including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk, is expected to be simplified.
Last year Ofcom fined Three £250,000 over its complaints handling processes, while an investigation into EE is ongoing. BT has been fined £800,000 for breaching requirements on text relay services for deaf customers and an investigation into mis-selling by Unicom is on-going.