Figures from Citizen’s Advice reveal that more than 25,000 people a week have been forced to wait for broadband repairs and new installations, due to missed appointments by Openreach. The consumer service is calling on ministers to guarantee compensation for these customers.
Between April and September 2016, 20% of repairs to broadband and phone services for both home and business customers were not carried out on time, the research found. More than 640,000 people were affected by the delays, with as much as £874 million lost every year as a result of people missing work and other appointments.
Currently, providers that use the Openreach network are compensated for problems, but this money doesn't typically make its way back to consumers. Citizens Advice wants to change this, and has called for the government to make sure that customers who experience delays get compensation.
Energy companies are already subject to such a rule - if people are still missing power 12 hours after a power cut, they're eligible for £75. Considering that broadband's essentially the fourth utility now, the idea is that similar safeguards should be in place.
Gillian Guy, the CEO of Citizen's Advice, said: "It is deeply unfair that broadband suppliers are automatically compensated but customers have to fight for every penny.
"Companies are paid every time a broadband or landline repair or installation is delayed. But customers who bear the brunt of these problems have to fight for compensation from their broadband company - and may not get any.
"The Digital Economy Bill gives MPs the opportunity to make sure broadband customers hit by delays get compensation automatically instead of having to negotiate and fight for it. It is important that clear standards are set for this compensation so people know exactly when they are eligible and how much they can claim."
Source: The Telegraph