Following the announcement of Ofcom’s public consultation on the future of the UK’s broadband network, XLN Telecom has signed up in support of the Fix Britain’s Internet Campaign, which is being run by a coalition of broadband providers including TalkTalk Business. Fix Britain’s Internet believes that British businesses have been badly let down by the current system in which Openreach, a BT subsidiary, is responsible for nearly all of the internet installations across Britain, regardless of a customer’s chosen provider.
XLN Telecom provides utility services including broadband, phone, mobile, energy and card processing, to over 250,000 small businesses in the country. While providing fast internet connection to British small businesses is one of XLN’s main offerings, the company has no control over the installations themselves as it does not own the pipes and cables that connect businesses and homes to the internet. Instead, these are almost entirely owned by Openreach.
XLN believes that this reliance on Openreach places it at a disadvantage, as it has no control over the installation process and times. In today’s fast-paced and competitive economy, it is more important than ever for installation times to be as fast as possible. Yet, Openreach has on average taken 10 business days to connect customers to their required services, which are often as simple as an operating phone line. This is out of touch with the reality of organisations such as XLN, which provide world-class service to small businesses that need to be connected ASAP. More worryingly, XLN’s customers have reported that BT Retail – a sister company to Openreach - has offered faster install times to them over the 10-day industry standard, resulting in lost business. It means that other providers like XLN are not able to compete on a level playing field with BT.
Another obstacle for XLN is the fact that once Openreach engineers reach the client site, the engineer does not have information about the installation that XLN has provided to Openreach at the point of order, and have on occasion been unable to complete the installation even within the generous 10-day allowance. This often occurs with installations that may require specific engineer expertise, or further works to be done.
Delays have also been caused when Openreach engineers have not been able to access a property upon arrival. Because Openreach then claims this is the customer’s fault – even when XLN has provided alternative contact details to guarantee access – the customer is then placed right back at the bottom of the queue. Around 12% of all Openreach engineer visits requested by XLN are charged as ‘missed appointments’ despite XLN providing primary, secondary and alternative customer contact details.
XLN’s customers are the small and micro enterprises that form the backbone of the British economy.
Openreach is continuing to fail to meet XLN, and their customer’s expectations due to poor service levels. As a champion for small businesses, XLN has taken a stand and is supporting TalkTalk and others by campaigning to Fix Britain’s Internet to try and ensure that British businesses have the best connectivity possible so that they can thrive. Other businesses wishing to make their voice heard by Ofcom can do so by visiting www.fixbritainsinternet.co.uk