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Oscar Williams

News editor

ISPs will soon have to deliver guaranteed broadband speeds within a time limit

Broadband providers will have a limited time to improve connections if they fall below a minimum guaranteed speed, under new rules proposed by Ofcom. 

The proposals will let customers exit a contract penalty free if their providers fail to meet the deadlines. The right to exit will also for the first time apply to broadband contracts that include phone and pay-TV services.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said the plans would help broadband shoppers to know what they’re buying, and what speeds to expect.

“We plan to close the gap between what’s advertised and what’s delivered, giving customers a fuller picture before they commit to a contract,” she said. “We’re also making it easier to walk away from a contract, without penalty, when companies fail to provide the speeds they promise.”

The proposals, which are going through a public consultation, were welcomed by Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, who said many people contact the organisation each year about intermittent broadband.

“For most people, a reliable broadband connection is a necessity – so when they don’t get what they’ve paid for they should always have a quick and easy way out of their contract,” she said. “These changes are an important step in giving consumers more power to hold their broadband provider to account for poor service.”