Brits Get Broadband Bill of Rights

[qi:058] The UK telecommunication regulatory agency Ofcom has issued its own broadband bill of rights — perhaps we should call it the broadband Magna Carta? Starting today, British Internet service providers that have signed up to the code have to tell customers which speeds they can realistically expect over their broadband connections, rather than the maximum potential speeds offered. This is something we have called for in the past as part of our own consumer-friendly broadband reform, so I’m happy to see ISPs jumping on board — even if they are overseas.

Participation in the code is voluntary, but providers covering 95 percent of the UK population have signed up, according to Ofcom. ISPs must also disclose bandwidth caps and when customers might be nearing such caps. Additionally, those participating in the code need to allow customers to downgrade their service plan without penalty if the speeds don’t match up. Customers can use a test they find online or one provided by the ISP to determine their broadband speeds. Such efforts at transparency are a good first step to making broadband better. AT&T and Comcast, let’s see your proposals.

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