New rules mean you can cancel your broadband contract if speeds are lower than promised from tomorrow


BROADBAND customers will be able to cancel their contract penalty free from tomorrow if speeds drop below promised levels.

Under new rules announced by Ofcom, broadband providers will have to be upfront about what speeds customers can get – including during peak times.

Man on laptop
Broadband users will be able to cancel their contracts penalty free from tomorrow if speeds aren’t as promised

During these parts of the day, which is typically 8pm to 10pm for home users and 12pm to 2pm for businesses, broadband speeds can drop as more people try to use the internet.

But if speeds aren’t as high as promised, companies will have one month to improve performance.

If they can’t, customers are free to cancel without paying any early exit fees – and this applies to landline and TV packages that were bundled in and bought at the same time.

The new rules cover BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, which supply around 95 per cent of home broadband customers – and KCOM is in the process of joining.

Boost your broadband speed

HERE are some top tips to boost your broadband speed from telecoms regulator Ofcom:

  1. Carry out a speed test using Ofcom accredited price comparison sites, and Simplifydigital
  2. Talk to your broadband provider if there are problems in the first instance
  3. Update your web browser to the latest version
  4. 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
  5. If you have an old router, consider upgrading it
  6. Password protect your broadband – if neighbours are accessing your wifi it could be slowing your speeds down
  7. Use an ethernet cable to connect your computer or laptop directly to the router rather than using wifi
  8. Plug your router directly into your home’s main phone socket – extension leads can cause interference
  9. Fit a broadband acclerator to boost speeds

Your rights apply regardless of the type of broadband you have; so whether it’s cable, copper, part or full fibre.

But the rules only apply to new contracts taken out from tomorrow, so if speeds drop on your existing broadband deal you won’t be able to cancel penalty free unless you’re outside of your minimum contract.

You can of course, still complain.

The rules are also only guidance, which means companies can choose to ignore them, or firm could choose to leave the code.

Ofcom says it will monitor how companies put the rules into practice and will publish a report on their performance next year. It says it will take non-compliance seriously.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “When you sign a contract, you should be treated fairly and know exactly what you’re getting.

“These protections mean broadband shoppers can buy with confidence.”

Three in four households could be paying over the odds for slower broadband

The news comes as recent research from comparison website uSwitch found that the UK’s worst street for broadband speed was almost 2,000 times slower than the fastest.

Meanwhile, consumer group Which? found that three in four households are paying £173 over the odds for SLOWER broadband – and BT users are worst off.

Sarah Threadgould, chief customer officer at Which?, said: “Unclear and confusing information about broadband speeds has been an issue for consumers for far too long – so we’re glad these measures are being introduced.

“Providers should immediately adopt these changes to ensure that customers clearly understand the minimum speeds to expect when they sign up and have the right to walk away if that provider fails to deliver.

“We will be keeping a close eye to make sure the voluntary code is working for consumers; if not, Ofcom will need to step in and take stronger action.”

Sky dealt a blow to millions of broadband customers earlier this month with the news that it’s upping prices.

But we’ve rounded-up how you can avoid the price rises and save HUNDREDS of pounds.

Under further Ofcom plans, broadband providers will be forced to tell customers if they can get a better deal.


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