Rachael Hamilton MSP welcomed the new Ofcom Code of Practice, which offers broadband customers greater protections.
From the beginning of March, broadband shoppers now must be told how fast their new service will be, before they sign a contract, under new Ofcom protections.
Under the new code, speed estimates provided to customers at point of sale should reflect the speeds that they are likely to experience at peak times.
The new Code of Practice is part of Ofcom’s work to promote fairness, so that customers are not caught out by false promises. Should a customer’s broadband speed drops below the promised level, companies will have one month to improve performance before the customer can cancel a broadband plan without paying a penalty. This right to exit also applies to landline and TV packages bought at the same time as broadband.
The new protections cover all the major broadband firms such as BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media. The changes will only apply to deals signed up after 1 March and not existing contracts.
According to Audit Scotland, the Scottish Borders has consistently performed poorly on broadband provision and speeds, with the area being the second worst in Scotland for average broadband speeds, behind Shetland, and second only to the Orkney Islands.
Ms Hamilton believes that the new code will offer Borderers more fairness and guarantees when signing up for a broadband package.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“The new Ofcom code of practice is a real boost for broadband customers.
“Before new broadband customers sign up, they will be told their minimum internet speed. If a company breaks that promise, they will have to sort it out swiftly, or the customer can walk away.
“Not only does it ensure more fairness, but it also allows for broadband shoppers to have more confidence when choosing which provider to go with.
“In the Borders, we have some of the poorest broadband speeds in Scotland, and this is some comfort to many of my constituents who have toiled with terrible service.
“I hope that the move by Ofcom means that new broadband customers will have more flexibility, and not have to bear the brunt of poor speed provision