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Recognised Expert
537 Views
Message 1 of 11

It won`t be long before we win now.

Quoted from the new proposed EU Consumer Rights:

 

The push to create a Connected Europe continues and a comment by Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission probably sums up things nicely: "Soon, internet infrastructure could be supporting everything we do: from flexible business services, to smarter living environments, to better healthcare.". We might contest that for millions of people across the EU this is already a reality, and the strength of the digital economy in the UK is testament to that, but while there are some smaller countries that have very advanced internet infrastructure there are large swathes of the EU where the digital economy is just a pipe dream.

Ofcom in the UK has traditionally operated with a light touch approach to regulation, and while some thought the single telecoms market might mean an end to Ofcom it is clear from reading the avalanche of material that regulators in each country are secure, simple the set of rules they implement are set to have a firmer direction set from above. Some of the more interesting elements of the new rules that will affect people are summarised below:

  • mandatory pre-contractual and contractual information: Including information on expected speeds and other quality of service parameters
  • increased transparency and facilities to avoid "bill shocks"
  • the right to terminate contracts after 6 months without cost (residual value of any supplied hardware or other promotions can still be charged for)
  • Internet access will be obliged to provide an unhindered connection to all content and applications. A framework will set out a legal way for specialised services to operate with enhanced Quality of Service. The 'all content' is qualified in the paperwork to refer to 'legal' content in some places.
  • Improved switching between providers using harmonised principles. This section reads almost as if either the EU has borrowed the proposed new switching scheme by Ofcom, or Ofcom has prepared its proposals in the knowledge of what the EU was aiming for.
  • Right for consumers to terminate contracts if speed promises made at point of sale are not met
  • Provide data on download and upload speeds including information on peak hour speeds.
  • Ensure any fair use policy is laid out in a clear and comprehensible way, and also what impact any QoS based services will have on other activites on a connection.

For a long time there has been a struggle to make the public understand that Internet connections are complex beasts, and while many will welcome the move to give the consumer more power, there are implications we can foresee and namely that speed will vanish even more than it has from advertising and marketing. For the DSL based services the requirement to allow consumers to move if speeds are not what is expected may lead to some people simply switching provider several times before the realisation that the technology can only actually provide a certain speed to their property, and potentially long explanations that while a user may get X Mbps to the Internet Provider, because of issues beyond the providers control the speeds the user sees from sites will vary greatly. In the world of data centres and business grade connectivity the solution is to sell what is a very slow speed e.g. 10 Mbps with a burst speed, in short you are guaranteed to always have access to 10 Mbps, but might depending on what others are doing be able to burst to speeds of 100 Mbps. The question now is what impact this might have on the take-up of FTTC based services, and even though FTTP avoids all the DSL speed humps it still experiences all the potential for congestions.

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Highlighted
Contributor
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Message 2 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.

definitely some good news for customers there. Lets hope it passes through.
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Highlighted
Distinguished Guru
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Message 3 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.

I don't see any of that having much real effect.

 

mandatory pre-contractual and contractual information: Including information on expected speeds and other quality of service parameters

This should already be available on BT's web site when ordering.  They might have to be a bit more proactive in offering it.


increased transparency and facilities to avoid "bill shocks"

You can already log in to MyBT to see your usage since the last bill.


the right to terminate contracts after 6 months without cost (residual value of any supplied hardware or other promotions can still be charged for)

BT's lawyers will soon find ways around this.  The "value" of the equipment will go up.  BT can nominally charge higher prices, while offering deeper discounts to customers.  If you see out the minimum contract, you get the cheaper price.  If you don't, BT will hit you with a big bill as they retrospecively remove the discount.


Internet access will be obliged to provide an unhindered connection to all content and applications. A framework will set out a legal way for specialised services to operate with enhanced Quality of Service. The 'all content' is qualified in the paperwork to refer to 'legal' content in some places.

BT have been moving to this with the "totally unlimited" services already.


Improved switching between providers using harmonised principles. This section reads almost as if either the EU has borrowed the proposed new switching scheme by Ofcom, or Ofcom has prepared its proposals in the knowledge of what the EU was aiming for.

This does need sorting.  In principle, it should be simple already.


Right for consumers to terminate contracts if speed promises made at point of sale are not met

Providers can simply be more pessimistic about your expected speed.  Instead of estimating 6-7M, they could estimate 3-7M instead.  If they all do that, it doesn't actually help the customer at all.


Provide data on download and upload speeds including information on peak hour speeds.

I'm not sure what this will actually require, in practice.  the BT wholesale checker will already tell you the speed you're getting.


Ensure any fair use policy is laid out in a clear and comprehensible way, and also what impact any QoS based services will have on other activites on a connection.

This shouldn't be a problem for any provider.  The "fair usage" pilicy doesn't actually have to be fair, so long as it's well documented.

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Highlighted
Expert
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Message 4 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.

The only question I have to all the above text will it meen we as customers pay less for broadband and phone services in the forseeable furture ? if not then we need a BroadBand & Phone price regulator as Ofcom are like the UN all talk and no action.

 

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Highlighted
Distinguished Guru
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Message 5 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.


@NewtronStar wrote:

The only question I have to all the above text will it meen we as customers pay less for broadband and phone services in the forseeable furture ? if not then we need a BroadBand & Phone price regulator as Ofcom are like the UN all talk and no action.

 


When I first signed up for BT Broadband, it was just under £40 per month for a fixed 512K service.  I'm now paying just under £14 a month for an 18M service.

 

The customer service from most mainstream providers is already terrible as they do everything they can to cut costs.  I can't see how it's going to go down in price by any significant amount, without getting either a service packed full of limitations ("fair usage policies"), or no customer service at all.

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Recognised Expert
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Message 6 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.

mandatory pre-contractual and contractual information: Including information on expected speeds and other quality of service parameters

This should already be available on BT's web site when ordering.  They might have to be a bit more proactive in offering it.

 

Imo they would need to make it much more readable and easier to navigate for users under the new rules.

 

increased transparency and facilities to avoid "bill shocks"

You can already log in to MyBT to see your usage since the last bill.

 

Ok I agree with that.

 

the right to terminate contracts after 6 months without cost (residual value of any supplied hardware or other promotions can still be charged for)

BT's lawyers will soon find ways around this.  The "value" of the equipment will go up.  BT can nominally charge higher prices, while offering deeper discounts to customers.  If you see out the minimum contract, you get the cheaper price.  If you don't, BT will hit you with a big bill as they retrospecively remove the discount.

 

They proberlly will find a way around it,but not without changing the values that have been already set by the original manufacturers of the devices,and what if the customer uses his/her own devices.?

 

Internet access will be obliged to provide an unhindered connection to all content and applications. A framework will set out a legal way for specialised services to operate with enhanced Quality of Service. The 'all content' is qualified in the paperwork to refer to 'legal' content in some places.

BT have been moving to this with the "totally unlimited" services already.

 

When they can produce an unhindered connection without the hub constantly resetting I agree,but at this time that is far from the case.

 

Improved switching between providers using harmonised principles. This section reads almost as if either the EU has borrowed the proposed new switching scheme by Ofcom, or Ofcom has prepared its proposals in the knowledge of what the EU was aiming for.

This does need sorting.  In principle, it should be simple already.

 

Agreed.

 

Right for consumers to terminate contracts if speed promises made at point of sale are not met

Providers can simply be more pessimistic about your expected speed.  Instead of estimating 6-7M, they could estimate 3-7M instead.  If they all do that, it doesn't actually help the customer at all.

 

Yes,I agree,but the new rules will make them get nearer the actual line capabilities.

 

Provide data on download and upload speeds including information on peak hour speeds.

I'm not sure what this will actually require, in practice.  the BT wholesale checker will already tell you the speed you're getting.

 

Access to the Modem internal data and/or at least give the customer access to logs and fireware details.

 

Ensure any fair use policy is laid out in a clear and comprehensible way, and also what impact any QoS based services will have on other activites on a connection.

This shouldn't be a problem for any provider.  The "fair usage" pilicy doesn't actually have to be fair, so long as it's well documented.

 

I agree,but it should be fair.

 

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Expert
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Message 7 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.


@Ectophile wrote:

@NewtronStar wrote:

The only question I have to all the above text will it meen we as customers pay less for broadband and phone services in the forseeable furture ? if not then we need a BroadBand & Phone price regulator as Ofcom are like the UN all talk and no action.

 


When I first signed up for BT Broadband, it was just under £40 per month for a fixed 512K service.  I'm now paying just under £14 a month for an 18M service.

 

 


Then my FTTC 40/10 should now cost £10.99 a month if what your saying is correct Smiley Frustrated

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Expert
383 Views
Message 8 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.


@NewtronStar wrote:

The only question I have to all the above text will it meen we as customers pay less for broadband and phone services in the forseeable furture ? if not then we need a BroadBand & Phone price regulator as Ofcom are like the UN all talk and no action.

 


I don't think it should be the job of a regulator to set prices. Encourange competiton? Yes. Require those in a monopoloy position to share infrastucture? Yes.

 

As it stands I can chose from a load of different packages, weighted towards calls or broadband as I need. Where there's LLU/cable competiton prices are seriously low.

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Expert
380 Views
Message 9 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.


Internet access will be obliged to provide an unhindered connection to all content and applications. A framework will set out a legal way for specialised services to operate with enhanced Quality of Service. The 'all content' is qualified in the paperwork to refer to 'legal' content in some places.

BT have been moving to this with the "totally unlimited" services already.

 

When they can produce an unhindered connection without the hub constantly resetting I agree,but at this time that is far from the case

 


This passage is referring to net neutrality i.e. BT should not throttle/downspeed its customers connections to Netfix or Lovefilm because it has its own Movies service it would rather people used instead, or kill VoIP/SIP traffic to protect its phone call revenues.

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Expert
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Message 10 of 11

Re: It won`t be long before we win now.


@rhyds wrote:

 Where there's LLU/cable competiton prices are seriously low.

Thats my consern as our exchange is small and with no LLU and never will be Smiley Mad so I don't have much choice here, yeah I could go back to IPStream (ADSL max) costley or stay with BT FTTC 40/10 £18 a month it's a no brainer

 

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