As many as 6.7 million British premises receive sub-10Mb broadband connections, according to new research backed by 57 MPs.
Grant Shapps’ Broadband 2.0 report calls on Ofcom to force firms to pay compensation to customers with slow connections.
But it also acknowledges that it’s not clear exactly how many customers are offered faster connections and choose not to pay for them.
Shapps writes: “The data fails to distinguish between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband”.
As such, it’s not known how many people would be eligible for compensation under the new rules.
An Ofcom spokesperson contested the figures, saying only 1.4m premises – about 5 per cent – were unable to get a 10Mb service.
In the introduction to the report, Shapps wrote: “Although broadband is increasingly considered to be an essential utility, the quality of customer services has simply not caught up with demand.
The chair of the British infrastructure group of MPs added: “It is unacceptable that there are still no minimum standards in the UK telecoms sector to protect customers from protracted complaints procedures, and ensure that broadband providers are fully accountable to their customers.”
Ofcom has recently unveiled plans to force internet service providers to pay for repairs, missed deadlines and appointments.
A spokesperson for the regulator said: “We share concerns that broadband must improve and we’re already taking firm, wide-ranging action to protect customers. These include new plans for automatic compensation, faster repairs and installations, and ensuring providers commit to giving accurate speed information to customers.”
After the report was published over the weekend, Openreach – the owner of the UK’s broadband network – presented its plan to government to make high-speed broadband available to rest of the country.
It has pledged to spend £600m to ensure 1.4m rural homes have access to 10Mb connections by 2020.