In a new approach to customer service, BT is introducing a minimum performance guarantee on two new broadband services, so that those with the services would get £20 compensation if their internet download speed fell below 100Mbps up to four times a year.
The deals offer speeds of up to 152Mbps and 314Mbps, and the current UK average stands at just 44Mbps, according to Ofcom. The packages are available in 46 locations, from West Yorkshire to Edinburgh, but only 250,000 homes are eligible to access the services.
The news comes as BT customers are starting the year facing much higher bills. The telecoms giant is putting up prices for millions of users, with many facing an increase of roughly £2 per month, with BT stating these increasing are to invest in the future of its services.
BT said: “We know that no one likes price changes, but this allows us to upgrade our services and give you more. Every customer will see improvements to their products and services alongside these changes.”
“We are investing more than ever in broadband, including boosting the speed, data and cloud storage of millions of customers, and answering 85% of customer calls in the UK and Ireland by creating an extra 2,200 jobs here.”
The cost of the new services are £54.99 and £59.99, which Broadband Genie’s Rob Hiborn says is expensive, and that a standard fibre package is more than adequate for most people.
For gamers though, Andrew Ferguson, co-founder of ThinkBroadband, said: “With the rise of online gaming leagues, having a stable connection for gaming at home is becoming more important. And in some areas Virgin Media has a legacy of being oversubscribed. Therefore, there may be lots of people willing to try an alternative service.”
At the full speed, users will be able to download a full HD movie in under three minutes, and the same would take almost an hour on current average speeds. Speaking of consumers, Marc Allera, CEO of BT Consumer said: “Rather than spending hours downloading TV shows or films to their smartphone or tablet, they’ll be able to do it in minutes.”
“Ultrafast technology is going to be a vital part of a transformation in the speed that our customers receive. Whether it is six in the evening or morning, with Ultrafast Fibre everyone can be online at the same time, streaming, downloading and gaming.”
The underlying technology behind the services is something known as G.fast, which Openreach plans to roll out to 10 million premises by 2020. The UK government has also promised by make access to speeds of at least 10Mbps a legal requirement by 2020.
David Lewis, managing director, integra people, warrington