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Elizabeth France - the Information Commissioner currently responsible for data protection in the UK - is to take up the newly created post of Telecoms Ombudsman from October.

The Telecoms Ombudsman will begin handling complaints from users against telecoms providers including ISPs in 2003.

The role of Telecoms Ombudsman should provide a fair, impartial and speedy service to consumers that are in dispute with their telecoms service provider.

She will have the power to order companies to provide compensation if these companies are found to be at fault.

The creation of an Ombudsman for the telcoms industry came about Oftel set up a working party 18 months ago to establish a new industry-funded consumer
body.

While many in the industry are prepared to support the voluntary service financially, there are some that have refused.

Oftel chief David Edmonds has written to these companies asking them to reconsider. ®

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