FICORA enhances broadband subscription regulations

27 Apr 2010

Finland’s telecoms regulator, the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA), has called on four of the country’s major broadband operators to revise the contract conditions they presently offer to customers. FICORA says it has assessed ‘from the consumer’s viewpoint, the lawfulness and reasonability of the fixed broadband service agreement terms’ of DNA Finland, Elisa, Welho and TeliaSonera Finland, noting that, in its opinion there are issues regarding the vague definition of connection speeds coupled with ‘flaws in the agreement-making process.’

The regulator maintains that terms relating to connection speeds are ‘unreasonable for consumers and do not accord with the Communications Market Act. In the agreements, the connection speed is defined so broadly that, in practice, the customer can never prove the broadband service to be faulty based on the actual speed of the subscription, and therefore, be eligible to a compensation required by the Communications Market Act.’ As a result FICORA had ruled that telcos must provide a more transparent determination of connection speeds, with the rate to be determined by either reporting the minimum speed of the service or the range of speed. In addition the watchdog has stated that the minimum speed may not be too low in comparison to the top level available.

Further, the new regulations claim that at present terms of contracts such as timeframe for delivery and activation of the service are not clear enough, while it also noted that neither Elisa nor TeliaSonera included a clause allowing customers to withdraw from an agreement under distance selling regulations in accordance with the country’s Consumer Protection Act. It has ordered such clauses to be applied, and Elisa has already reported that it will ensure its agreements fall in line with distance trading rules.