TalkTalk accused of impeding automatic compensation for Internet delays

John Petter, CEO of BT Consumer Business, has accused TalkTalk of trying to obstruct the introduction of automatic compensation, which major telecommunications and Internet service providers would have to pay their customers on account of poor service per a code of practice between these organisations.

He informed Ofcom that TalkTalk has refused to sign on for the voluntary scheme that the other major providers have agreed upon. The telecom regulator is trying to ensure that consumers are automatically compensated if their Internet service providers take too long to fix faults or install broadband.

Mr Petter stated that BT, Virgin Media and Sky have agreed on the voluntary scheme, but TalkTalk has refused to be a participant. He said that it is unfortunate that TalkTalk has taken this approach, as the telecom industry needs to work together.

A spokesperson for TalkTalk refused to respond to the accusation levelled by Mr Petter. However, some company insiders stated that TalkTalk would be happy to pay automatic compensation to customers but feels that the rules need to be laid down by Ofcom. These insiders also said that TalkTalk’s computer systems would have to undergo major changes to incorporate automatic compensation, and this will take time.

Presently, Ofcom is consulting on automatic compensation. The results of the consultation will be published by the end of 2017. Ofcom has already rejected the initial proposals put forth by BT, Virgin Media and Sky. The regulatory body directed the Internet operators to come up with a voluntary scheme or else adhere to mandatory rules ensuring that service providers offer better-quality service.

BT is in favour of a voluntary scheme. Mr Petter said that it would mean that Internet providers would work to improve quality conscientiously rather than try to compete with one another. He went on to add that mandated rules would not allow providers to differentiate themselves from their competition, and hence, the rules would be minimally effective.

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