Feeds

Ofcom fills Local Loop Unbundling loophole

One regulator to rule us all

Boost IT visibility and business value

Punters who get their phone and internet services from an unbundled provider will now get the same protection from regulators as those on BT lines.

Ofcom has extended its rules protecting consumers from mis-selling to Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) voice and broadband service providers.

Under new regulations the telecommunications watchdog said LLU providers are now required to comply with Ofcom's code of practice for marketing and sales activities.

Although rules that protect consumers from mis-selling already apply to fixed-line voice call services, LLU providers' marketing and sales techniques have escaped this scrutiny.

But Ofcom stepped in after it received thousands of complaints from disgruntled consumers who had been switched to another operator without prior knowledge or consent, a mis-selling tactic known as "slamming".

LLU technology uses telephones lines running between homes or businesses and the local exchange that are not connected by BT, which has allowed competition into the voice and broadband market from other providers.

Fixed-line voice call service providers have been required to comply with Ofcom's code of practice under a General Condition of Entitlement (GC 14.5) since May 2005.

The rules were originally intended to cover a two-year period, but after public consultation Ofcom said the rules will continue to apply to fixed-line, as well as being extended to cover LLU providers.

It also said it has investigated 11 providers including Tesco, Unicom, and FreeCall since 2005 and that it is currently reviewing switching methods across all telecoms services.

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said: "We want competition and choice to continue to grow, and we want consumers to benefit from these changes.

"Consumers need to be able to shop around with confidence. Extending these rules and our enforcement activity will protect consumers from inappropriate sales and marketing techniques."

Unbundled providers include Be, Sky, UK Online and Tiscali.®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Ancient pager tech SMS: It works, it's fab, but wow, get a load of that incoming SPAM
Networks' main issue: they don't know how it works, says expert
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.