EVERY home in the UK will have the right to demand a “decent and affordable” broadband service under new rules taking force next March.
The move is part of the Government’s “universal service obligation” and has been written into law, meaning firms have a legal requirement to meet the rules.
2 Households around the UK will be able to demand faster broadband speeds from MarchCredit: Getty – Contributor
What this means in reality, is you’ll be able to demand broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbit/s, and upload speeds of at least 1 Mbit/s under the universal service.
Once connected through the new universal service you will pay the same prices and receive the same service quality as other broadband customers who have an equivalent connection.
But there’s a catch – you can only get the universal service if the only service available that can provide these speeds costs more than £45 per month.
Plus, if the cost of installing these faster speeds is more than £3,400 households will also have to stump up the difference or go for a different type of broadband.
Boost your broadband speedHERE are some top tips to boost your broadband speed from telecoms regulator Ofcom:
Carry out a speed test using Ofcom accredited price comparison sites Broadband.co.uk, broadbandchoices.co.uk and Simplifydigital
Talk to your broadband provider if there are problems in the first instance
Update your web browser to the latest version
Keep your router as far away as possible from other electrical devices that emit wireless signals, such as cordless phones and baby monitors as these can effect signal
If you have an old router, consider upgrading it
Password protect your broadband – if neighbours are accessing your wifi it could be slowing your speeds down
Use an ethernet cable to connect your computer or laptop directly to the router rather than using wifi
Plug your router directly into your home’s main phone socket – extension leads can cause interference
Fit a broadband acclerator to boost speeds
The idea is to help the some 620,000 homes and offices with slower broadband speeds.
These properties are typically in the most remote parts of the UK, or are far away from current broadband networks, which means they currently struggle to get a decent broadband service.
BT will deliver the scheme across the UK other than in Hull in Yorkshire, where telecoms provider KCOM will look after things.
Both providers have until March 20 2020 to get their lines in order after which households will be able to demand faster speeds.
Where someone makes a request, BT or KCOM will have 30 days to confirm whether the customer is eligible.
This will involve establishing whether the property already has access to decent broadband, at an affordable price, or if it is due to be connected by a publicly-funded scheme within 12 months.
2 BT will provide the service across the UK other then in Hull where KCOM will takeoverCredit: Alamy
Once confirmed, BT has 24 months to set up the universal service while it’s 12 months for KCOM.
And the current speeds will be reviewed over time, as the amount of data people use changes.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “As more of our daily lives move online, bringing better broadband to people and businesses is crucial.
“From next year, this new broadband safety net will give everyone a legal right to request a decent connection – whether you live in a city or a hamlet.
“This will be vital for people who are struggling to get the broadband they need.”
But Caroline Normand, Which? director of advocacy, believes making households wait up to two years for the change is too long. She said: “Too many people have been waiting for far too long to get good enough broadband to carry out even the most basic online tasks.
“So it’s disappointing that some people may have to wait up to another 24 months to receive their universal service obligation connection.
“Requesting a connection must be a simple process that leads to consumers getting the broadband they need without unnecessary hassle – with the regulator holding both providers to account and ensuring they face significant penalties if they fail to deliver.”
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It was revealed earlier this week that households can now cancel phone, broadband and TV contracts for free if firms don’t fix faults and problems.
Broadband and home phone customers already get automatic compensation of £8 a day for lost service under rules that took force on April 1.
Later this year, mobile users will be allowed to switch provider simply by sending a text in a bid to make it easier to move.