Lisa Simpson: "I mean, if you're the police, who will police the police?" Homer Simpson: "I dunno. Coast Guard?" The EU's communications commissioner today vowed to press through sweeping reforms of the European telecoms market that she hopes will tear up the current red tape regime. She charged that governments and regulators …
Start with the 0870 problem
"She's now on a whistle-stop tour of the continent to sell the ideas to the people."</font>
If she wants to be taken seriously, she needs to first knock up a victory on the 0870 problem.
Start by over-ruling ofcom's user-hostile decision that 0870 providers can opt out of providing an alternative geographic number if they play a recorded announcement. How does that help anybody? A recorded announcement does NOT reduce the cost of our calls.
Carry on by insisting that if you call a number that's for reporting faults (or customer service, or whatever) you get straight through to the number that's for reporting faults, and not to an IVR system that requires you to waste time keying digits.
Finally, seal it all by insisting that only freephone numbers can implement call queuing systems -- chargeable calls must remain UNANSWERED until there's a HUMAN available to take the call -- and if there's not a human available within two minutes, must offer to ring the caller back within 30 minutes or the supplier must pay an automatic £5 credit to the customer.
And THEN we will start to believe that she really is there to serve the customer.
Agree With 1st Comment...
... Providers who offer landline or mobile services should be forced to offer ALL customers with their phone service a freephone number to get through to their call centres for billing, customer care and faults!
Broadband providers should not be allowed to charge excessive amounts for phone calls to 090 numbers for support, this should be capped with a 0870 number max, with no IVR a simple ring till the phone is answered, customers should not pay to wait in a call queue or be charged for selecting in some cases (think BT) 10 different options just to go through to someone and then wait in excess of 1hr to actually speak to a person.
Connection charges should also be capped 6p (most landline providers) & 7p (virgin media) for simply picking up a phone and it been answered is disgusting it does not cost the companies this much, and like most things its another way to make more money. This should be 2-3p MAX.
Broadband should not be advertised as 'Unlimited' if there is any form of cap, limit, or throttling as this does not reflect what the term UNLIMITED actually means and is not only confusing its blatent bullshit by these providers.
They should also regulate the likes of OFCOM who dont actually give a shit about customer complaints and use any excuse to get out of doing their job and investigating these companies like BT who ALWAYS have a queue time of over 1 hour to get through to someone, yet BT are not bothered about OFCOM as they know they are toothless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
There is a few things to get them started with...
More integration. Same old story...
An EU telecoms regulator that "oversees" the national regulators, who get most of their cues from the EU already through technical directives. Anyone who thinks that this new centralised regulator will be any more responsive to people's needs than the current local regulators is in serious need of a head examination.
Ed Richards should be tweaked at the domestic level
Yes Ofcom have always acted in the interest of UK Industry and look at the damn expensive mess it's left the UK consumer with.
Forcing them to act in the interest of EU industry? Will that be of much benefit to the UK consumer? I doubt it somehow.
Should the UK public be rallying to arms in the defence of Ofcom's sovereignty? On balance and taking everything into consideration I think Ofcom and Ed can go and take a flying..............
Perochial vs. European view
At least the EU implemented cross-border charging caps. It's unlikely that OFFCOM or any national regulator would have been able to achieve that.
Lets all thank the EU for that.
There's no rules that say OFFCOM can't be *harder* on the telcos than the EU would like. Like that will ever happen with the cute little OFFCOM puppy.
Treat 'em mean. Keep 'em keen.
AC - 0870 rebate continuing past Feb 1st '08.
So Ofcom announced in a 'blaze of glory' that they're going to stop revenue sharing on 0870 numbers from 1st Feb '08...and trumpeted this as a step forward for the consumer blah blah blah..despite calls to 0870 being significantly cheaper than the cost of calling a mobile. Never seemed to hear many people moaning too much about those costs although admittedly not often (if at all used for 'service lines'.)
Still the best mobile ripoff for a long time had to be 3 with their "receive calls on your mobile", "get free outgoing minutes" tariff - easy for 3 too affoed when calls to 3 from a landline were >20 pence per minute - i.e. nearly three times (how appropriate) the cost of calling an 0870 number..
I digress... Anyway about 2 weeks ago Ofcom 'announced' to Industry that erm.. they've screwed up and erm actually they WON'T be banning revenue sharing on 0870 from 1st Feb. Funnily enough in this spin city that we live in it's not exactly been published on the Ofcom website nor picked up YET by news media..
So erm from 1st Feb it'll still cost ya 6.73p per minute (ex VAT from a BT landline) to call an 0870 and the provider you're calling will continue to earn revenue share for a good few months yet!!!
And as for the second AC's post about required to provide freephone numbers for all 'service lines' - I'd suggest you try it. Go on get a great freephone number and point it at your home line..then wait a couple of weeks and count the floods of 'prank calls' that start turning up. I've had 20 calls or more an hour previously from pranktsters, kids and other saddos with nothing better to do including heavy breathers and all sorts.
Why should a business have to deal / train staff to deal with this level of abuse - full of expletives, threats and other rubbish. Funnily enough as soon as the freephone number was turned off all thse calls disappeared, hence the 0870 is not always there to 'gouge' the consumer...
Re: AC - 0870 rebate continuing past Feb 1st '08.
"Anyway about 2 weeks ago Ofcom 'announced' to Industry that erm.. they've screwed up and erm actually they WON'T be banning revenue sharing on 0870 from 1st Feb. Funnily enough in this spin city that we live in it's not exactly been published on the Ofcom website nor picked up YET by news media.."
- Chris Williams
Re: Re: AC - 0870 rebate continuing past Feb 1st '08
Chris - Sorry despite my religious el-reg browsing somehow I missed your pithy tome, sounds like you hit the nail right on the head in that article...
Ofcom - a brewery up organise and in piss a couldn't
Despitve having 11 staff members in the Civil Servants Fat Cat -100 league
From a North American perspective, I can't possibly imagine why a phone call should cost extra, unless of course you're dialling a sex chat line.
I know we have long-distance calling (i.e. anywhere outside your city, usually excluding very nearby outlying areas), where you guys don't have that, and have one rate to the whole country. However, every provider here offers deals where you can ring any number in the USA or Canada for free, any time of day. The majority of the time, you have to be bundling another service from them, like DSL or a mobile, but that's usually not an issue.
As for the comment about prank callers, since everyone here effectively has a freephone number to anyone in the local calling area, we should be all receiving endless abuse from bored children as soon as they arrive home from school, but we aren't. Aside from the occasional wrong number, I haven't had a prank call for ages & ages. Sure, they do happen, but never as frequently as you've described, and most often to people in the phone book with amusing names (I.P. Freely, etc).
I just wish it was legislated that incoming phone calls on mobiles be free of charge. That's one thing I love about European phone systems.
I wonder if the EU is going to force a common dial tone and/or a common emergency number as a result of all these changes?
It doesn't say that ...
"required to provide freephone numbers for all 'service lines'"
What it says is that CALL QUEUING SYSTEMS should only be implemented on freephone lines. Giving the company the choice of abolishing the call queing system (and not charging until somebody answers, with a penalty for failing to do so promptly) or paying the cost of the calls if they really consider they need to queue the calls to it instead of providing adequate staff.
Anyway, if the calls were answered PROMPTLY, even the prank calls would not be too costly to a freephone service and they could perhaps insist on caller ID to block continued abuse.
We're not so uncommon
"I wonder if the EU is going to force a common dial tone and/or a common emergency number as a result of all these changes?"
112 is already the EU standard. I'm not sure it works everywhere, but I believe it works in most of Europe, in ADDITION to the traditional numbers such as 999 in the UK.
[And no, dialling 112 does NOT connect you to a police force in Brussels],
Dial tones may still need further work -- I'm not sure what the differences were.