Stricter regulations for telecoms

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The gap between the internet speeds that service providers advertise and actual speeds remain a problem not only for Greek users but also for all their European counterparts too. Often a double-play program with an internet and landline connection that is supposed to offer a speed of 24 megabits per second is restricted to just 3 Mbps.

Given that the speed is affected by the distance the conventional cable covers from the local loop to the socket on the wall, or the kind of router used (i.e. a series of various factors), problems with low speed tend to be resolved by the customer upgrading their program. However, that practice is set to change after the application of the National Regulation for Open Internet.

Its provides for service providers to inform their fixed-network subscribers about the realistically anticipated connection speed they will get, and not just the nominal and advertised speed. This information, which will include both new and existing clients, will concern the minimum, the maximum and the usual speed available.

For example, a connection package in downtown Athens may have nominal speeds of 24 Mbps (download) and 1 Mbps (upload), but based on the calculations of the Hyperion broadband network quality assessment system, its minimum speed would range between 1 and 3.5 Mbps, the maximum between 11.8 and 13.6 Mbps and the usually available speed between 6.5 and 8.6 Mbps.

The necessary speed level the supplier must offer would be the lower end of the minimum bracket – i.e. 1 Mbps. If even 70% of that (or 0.7 Mbps) is not attained, the supplier will be liable for paying compensation.

Informing customers about connection speeds will form part of the contractual terms, while subscribers will secure the right to compensation in case there are constant or repeated shortfalls in the minimum speed promised.

While in conventional (ADSL) connections any speed below 70% of the minimum promised can lead to compensation claims, in other technologies, such as VDSL or fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), the threshold is at 80% or lower than the minimum speed.

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