UK telecoms regulator Ofcom today revealed new proposals that would force BT Openreach to fix faults with BT Retail, Virgin and TalkTalk services sooner.

The new rules would require BT Openreach, the company which installs and maintains connections to BT’s network on behalf of competing telecoms providers, to fix faults within two days, while new line installations would also have to be completed within 12 days.

Should BT Openreach fail to meet the new targets over a 12-month period then it could face sanctions from Ofcom – which may include fines.

Ofcom said it had issued the new guidance after it became concerned at how long some customers had to wait to get issues fixed in 2012. Many customers are still disgruntled at how long it takes BT to install broadband services and a phone line, when it can take as little as 24 hours in some countries. 

Since early 2013, BT agreed to pay money to telecoms companies if it was slow making repairs. Ofcom, who introduced the initiative, said this led to some improvements but now the regulator wants to formalise this into more solid guidelines as its Fixed Access Market Review consultation.

The most significant requirement is that 80 percent of all fault repairs must be carried out within two days of being notified, although some leeway will be given for extreme weather conditions. Meanwhile, an appointment for new line installations must take place within 12 days, 80 percent of the time.

Ofcom also wants Openreach to make data publicly available when it does meet these targets so assessments can made regarding its ongoing performance and enable the regulator to intervene further if required.

Today’s proposals are part of a consultation, relating to Ofcom’s Fixed Access Market Reviews, which closes on 13 February 2014. Ofcom will announce its final decisions in spring 2014.

BT were asked to comment on the proposals but had not responded by the time of publication. 

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