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I have had intermittent internet signal over the past few weeks. How can I get compensation?

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i have had intermittent internet signal over the past few weeks how can i get compensation

A car crashed into the broadband cabinet at the end of my road a few weeks ago and since then my internet has been cutting out intermittently.

I am working from home so this has been frustrating. On one day, I had no internet at all as Openreach tried to fix the issue.

I am hoping it is now resolved but I am looking to get compensation as I have been without full internet usage for weeks. What can I do to get this?

Getting compensation for a faulty broadband connection has to come from the provider

Getting compensation for a faulty broadband connection has to come from the provider

Getting compensation for a faulty broadband connection has to come from the provider 

Grace Gausden, This is Money, replies: Being without properly working internet for many is now like losing a vital utility, such as electricity or water, especially with the rise of home working. 

On the days when the internet cut out multiple times, and one day when it didn’t work at all, you had to go to a family member’s home nearby to work.

We’ll point out here this was earlier in the month and you live in a Tier 1 coronavirus area. 

You have been speaking to Openreach about the issue on and off for the last few weeks, hoping to get the issue resolved.

They have sent engineers several times to rectify the issue but work was unable to proceed due to ‘technical issues’.

Due to these technical issues, the damaged cabinet was left to be powered by batteries. 

These were changed every few hours, but in that time, households nearby, including yours, experienced broadband dropouts as the batteries ran down.

Fortunately, your internet is now working and the issue has been resolved but you are looking for compensation for the time you spent without it.

You contacted Openreach directly about this but were told it would not be able to help and instead you would need to speak to your internet provider – despite the fact they had not been involved in the failure of the connection.

While this may seem strange, when looking for compensation, customers have to go through their internet supplier.

Openreach said that even though they are fixing an issue, they don't provide compensation

Openreach said that even though they are fixing an issue, they don't provide compensation

Openreach said that even though they are fixing an issue, they don’t provide compensation 

The internet providers own the end-customer relationship and are responsible for communication with their customers and billing matters including compensation.

Openreach will only pay compensation to suppliers when it doesn’t meet agreed standards.

It is advised that anyone experiencing any problem with their broadband or home phone service should report it to their internet supplier in the first instance.

They will carry out checks to try to identify where the issue lies and if they think it needs further investigation by Openreach they will arrange for an engineer to visit and keep their customer up-to-date.

A spokesperson for Openreach replies: Openreach provides a wholesale service to over 600 service providers and those companies are responsible for communication with their customers, billing and compensation.

Openreach pays compensation to Service Providers when we don’t meet agreed standards, but we also have to observe and respect industry-agreed processes and protocols.

Anyone with ongoing issues should speak to their provider so that further investigations can take place.

Grace Gausden, This is Money, adds: Fortunately, you have since spoken to your internet provider which is giving you six months free internet by applying a monthly credit to your bill each month, leaving you with a total of £0 to pay. 

For other households who have struggled with their internet connection, they can speak to their supplier for more information or to Ofcom.  

The telecoms watchdog introduced a compensation scheme in April last year, which is what you managed to claim under. 

Under this customers who haven’t had their service fixed after two full working days of a fault not being repaired will be compensated £8 for each day it is still ongoing.

If an engineer doesn’t turn up for a scheduled appointment or cancel with less than 24 hours’ notice, customers will receive £25 per missed appointment.

Similarly, if a provider promises to start a new service on a particular date but fails to do so, customers will receive £5 for each calendar day of delay, including the missed start date. 

Compensation should be paid no later than 30 calendar days after a delayed start of a new service is resolved or the service is cancelled, 30 calendar days after the loss of service is resolved or the service is terminated or 30 calendar days after the date of the missed appointment. 

Unless you agree otherwise, compensation will be a credit on your bill.

However, if the loss in service is caused by equipment or activity within your home, you are not entitled to compensation under the scheme.

Similarly, you won’t receive compensation if you breach your contract, if you caused the service failure or if you prevent it from being resolved – for example if you ask for a later engineer appointment than the one offered and delay repairs to the service.

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Northern regions battle to host new National Infrastructure Bank

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northern regions battle to host new national infrastructure bank

The race is on across the north of England as leaders compete for their regions to become the seat of two economic hubs.

Rishi Sunak yesterday unveiled plans to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that will be based in the North.

The move comes on top of the Chancellor’s proposal to build a Treasury output in the region. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday unveiled plans to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that will be based in the north

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday unveiled plans to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that will be based in the north

Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday unveiled plans to set up a National Infrastructure Bank that will be based in the north

Northern leaders are now pushing the case for their areas to host the two hubs, with the North East and North West thought to be pushing particularly hard.

The infrastructure bank will fund projects that promise to help the UK reach its ‘net zero’ carbon targets by 2050 and its ‘levelling up’ agenda.

The plans were outlined as part of Sunak’s wider spending review, which laid out how the Government aims to repair the UK economy in the wake of the Covid crisis.

The bank will be up and running by next spring but Sunak did not say where it would be based or how much money it will have.

Conservative MP Jake Berry, former Northern Powerhouse minister and head of the Northern Research Group of MPs, said: ‘There’s likely going to be a lot of stiff competition from regions and leaders.

‘What’s important is that it’s being placed in the North, which shows a commitment by this Government to the region and the levelling up agenda – and a move away from Government jobs and departments focused almost entirely on London.

‘It is also good news when you consider the recent announcement that 22,000, well-paid civil service jobs will be moving out of London and the South East.’

The Chancellor has also promised to build a Treasury outpost in the North.

Designs for the ‘economic campus’ are thought to have been submitted for buildings in areas including Darlington and around Teesside, but a final location has not been confirmed. The plans are some of the firmest commitments yet that the Government will shift power out of London.

Pressing his case: Middlesbrough mayor  Andy Preston

Pressing his case: Middlesbrough mayor  Andy Preston

Pressing his case: Middlesbrough mayor  Andy Preston

Ministers have also promised to put £4billion towards a fund, which could back local projects in all regions.

While the competition to attract the bank and Treasury outpost will be fierce among MPs, mayors and councils, the race could also create friction if ministers opt to place them in major cities.

Ben Houchen, Conservative mayor for Tees Valley, which is a major hub for heavy industries, said: ‘It’s important that the Government takes the bold decision to base the bank outside of a northern city.

‘Having officials from the bank based outside one of our metropolitan centres will give them a new mindset and allow them to understand the whole country so much better and the different challenges our towns and villages face – which would not happen if the bank was set up in a city like Newcastle, Leeds or Manchester.’

Andy Preston, the independent mayor of Middlesbrough, said: ‘Levelling up is decades overdue so it is fantastic to finally see it being tackled. 

‘Middlesbrough has suffered more than anywhere from political neglect and incompetence. We deserve to host this new bank. 

‘The Government should invest in Middlesbrough now and I guarantee them a huge and positive return.’

Under Sunak’s plans, an additional £27billion will be spent next year on infrastructure such as roads, cycle paths, railway lines and power stations, in many areas tying in with the green strategy Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week.

The push is part of plans to plough £100billion into areas such as schools, hospitals and banks in total next year, and £600billion over the next five years. 

The Government, in rebounding from Covid, wants the UK to ‘build back better’ by improving motorways, laying better internet cables and building more wind farms.

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Taxpayer faces £40bn bill as cost of emergency loan schemes soar

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taxpayer faces 40bn bill as cost of emergency loan schemes soar

The taxpayer could be saddled with a £40billion bill as thousands of loans handed out under emergency government schemes turn sour.

The Treasury watchdog confirmed that losses under the Bounce Back loan scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the larger CLBILS will be greater than feared.

In the worst-case scenario, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) thinks the taxpayer could end up covering £40billion that companies fail to repay.

Loans burden: Treasury watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility  has confirmed that losses under emergency business loan schemes will be far greater than first feared

Loans burden: Treasury watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility  has confirmed that losses under emergency business loan schemes will be far greater than first feared

Loans burden: Treasury watchdog the Office for Budget Responsibility  has confirmed that losses under emergency business loan schemes will be far greater than first feared

This is much worse than the £33.7billion of losses the watchdog predicted as possible in July. 

Even under the OBR’s more moderate base-case scenario, losses will hit £29.5billion – £12.6billion more than was predicted. 

It comes as banking industry bosses warn that billions of pounds of Government money is being lost to fraudsters.

Virgin Money chief executive David Duffy said yesterday that his bank had decided to only hand out Bounce Back loans to existing customers in order to reduce fraud.

He added: ‘There is an environment out there where we know there’s been a lot of fraud, and what we’ve been very happy to do is lend to those customers who we have a relationship with and know.’

The Bounce Back loans, aimed at businesses with turnover of up to £200,000, involve banks carrying out few checks but come with a 100 per cent government guarantee.

The scheme has so far lent £42.2billion to 1.4m small companies. 

The Treasury was warned multiple times about the risk of fraud, but pushed ahead because it worried businesses were going to the wall during lockdown and desperately needed the cash.

Part of the reason that losses under the three emergency loan schemes are now expected to be higher is because the British Business Bank (BBB), which is administering the schemes, expects more businesses to go bust. 

The government-backed BBB estimates that a staggering 5 per cent to 20 per cent of the large businesses who have borrowed under CLBILS could default on their debt.

Less surprisingly, it thinks 10 per cent to 25 per cent of smaller CBILS borrowers and 35 per cent to 60 per cent of Bounce Back borrowers will become unable to pay back their debt. 

The Government has agreed to cover 80 per cent of any losses which lenders suffer under the CBILS and CLBILS schemes and 100 per cent of losses under the Bounce Back scheme.

The other reason why losses are higher is because the schemes have been extended.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed a second lockdown for England at the start of this month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak pushed back the deadline for applications under the three loan programmes from the end of November to the end of January, to help businesses stay afloat.

The OBR now thinks total borrowing under the three schemes could hit £87billion by the time they close, up from the £65.5bn which had been lent on November 15.

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Use British steel for £27bn infrastructure spree, industry chiefs urge

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use british steel for 27bn infrastructure spree industry chiefs urge

Industry chiefs have urged the use of British steel for infrastructure work.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to spend an extra £27billion on projects next year, and billions more in coming years on roads, railways and power stations.

Huge volumes of raw materials will be needed and steel bosses want the Government to prioritise procuring metal from the UK, to create and sustain jobs and help repair the damage that Covid has wreaked.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to spend an extra £27bn on projects next year, and billions more in coming years on roads, railways and power stations

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to spend an extra £27bn on projects next year, and billions more in coming years on roads, railways and power stations

Chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to spend an extra £27bn on projects next year, and billions more in coming years on roads, railways and power stations

UK Steel director general Gareth Stace said: ‘The huge levels of promised spending must now deliver the largest possible return fortaxpayers’ money by maximising the UK content of these major projects.’

It comes a week after Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a green strategy to build eco-friendly homes, wind turbines and nuclear power plants.

Both plans could reinvigorate ‘foundation’ industries that produce the raw materials.

UK steel has struggled over the past few years and some firms, such as British Steel, have collapsed. 

The UK makes 7.3m tonnes of steel a year. Around 32,600 people work in the sector.

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