Telecoms watchdog Ofcom has proposed new rules that cover BT Openreach and the way that it provides fibre connections to service providers and customers that could drastically improve the time it takes to fix faults with services.
Ofcom said that the rules would "underpin" the service that is provided during repairs and installations and should increase competition in the superfast broadcast market.
The proposals have been sent to the European Commission (EC) for ratification.
"Under the changes, the vast majority of phone and broadband faults would have to be repaired within two working days, while most customers wanting a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days," said Ofcom.
"Should Openreach fail to meet the new targets, it would face sanctions from Ofcom, which could include fines."
Under the proposed rules, Openreach would be required to fix 80 percent of faults within 48 hours of being reported, and provide an appointment for around 80 percent of new line installations no less that 12 working days after being notified.
Ofcom also wants Openreach to report publicly on performance, adding it would "monitor and intervene" here if required, and give customers a clear indication of how long works would take to complete.
The watchdog also wants to make it cheaper for customers to change their superfast broadband provider.
"Currently, if a consumer wishes to change superfast broadband provider, the company they are switching to must pay a £50 fee to Openreach," Ofcom said.
"This is often passed on to the customer. Ofcom intends to cut this wholesale fee to £11, which would allow providers to offer lower retail start-up fees."
Users could also be offered shorter retail contracts as a result of the changes.
"Where an existing superfast customer switches to a different supplier, the minimum length of the wholesale contract between BT and the new supplier would reduce from a year to one month. This gives flexibility for telecoms providers to offer shorter retail contracts," Ofcom said.
The European Commission will report back in June, Ofcom said.
BT told V3 that it welcomes the end of the Ofcom review and its proposals for improving customer service. It said that it would soon start to publish regular performance data, but added that it would have liked Ofcom to have done more to deal with pricing discrepancies.
"BT welcomes the conclusion of this review, which recognises the link between improved customer service levels and the price of Openreach's wholesale copper products for the first time," it said.
"Openreach is committed to improving its customer service levels so we support the new targets outlined by Ofcom today. We have also stated that we will publish regular performance data on the Openreach website from this summer to increase transparency."
On Monday BT announced plans to employ 1,600 new fibre engineers and self-publish information on its repair and fix timelines, as part of its ongoing rollouts of broadband services across the UK.
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