Users

Service quality

Each provider may set their quality and service availability parameters in accordance with their own commercial policy and with the technologies used, but they also have clear obligations (REGULATION (EU) 2015/2120) of informing the users on the quality parameters of the provided services.

By Decision no. 1112/2017, ANCOM has updated the minimum set of quality (technical and administrative) indicators for the provision of the Internet access service, by laying down consistent definitions for these indicators and imposing additional transparency obligations.

Technical quality indicators

Data transfer rate is the most important technical quality indicator the internet access users are aware of. Most of the offers dedicated to residential users provide a maximum transfer rate (also known as the best effort rate). Generally, computer networks are designed based on the concept of sharing network resources. This means that a resource is used by multiple end-users, while the whole network capacity needs to be shared between them. Thus, if the network is not properly dimensioned or at peak traffic times, congestion may occur.

 

Most offers in the retail market do not guarantee a certain speed, throughout the use of the internet access service.

For the fixed internet access service, the transfer rate depends both on the quality of the access line and on the terminal equipment used (firewall, computer, operation system, RadioLAN, modem etc.).

 

For the mobile internet access service, the transfer rate may vary based on: network coverage, distance to the base station, indoor or outdoor usage, wall thickness, atmospheric conditions, number of end-users accessing the service simultaneously in the same area, terminal equipment, operation system etc.

With a view to ensuring the transparency of information on the quality of the provided service, the providers must mention - in contracts and on their websites – the following: 

ü          For the fixed internet access service:

·         minimum data transfer rate;

·         commonly available transfer rate;

·         best effort transfer rate;

·         advertised data transfer rate (the one a provider uses in its commercial messages).

 

ü       For the mobile internet access service:

·        estimated best effort data transfer rate;

·        advertised data transfer rate.

With a view to ensuring the quality assessment for the provided service, data rate information must be accompanied by the following:

·         description of the conditions for achieving the respective rates – for the fixed internet access service;

·       description of the methodology for calculating the estimated best effort data transfer rate and the driving factors for achieving the estimated best effort data transfer rate, for the mobile internet access service.

Furthermore, the providers must publish:

  •   clarifications regarding the remedies a user can benefit from where significant difference occurs, permanently or on a regular basis, between the actual service performance and that indicated in the contract;
  •   the procedure a user can follow for measuring the actual performance of the internet access service, for assessing the above-mentioned differences and subsequently asking for compensations.

ANCOM created Netograf.ro, an online application by means of which a user can assess the service performance and the dynamics of this performance in time. Measurements performed using Netograf.ro indicate parameter values that are closer to the user’s real experience in accessing the internet, since the measured path includes the whole network of the provider, as well as – for smaller providers (providers with a smaller subscriber database)-, other networks interconnected with the respective network.

Where significant difference occurs, permanently or on a regular basis, between the actual service performance and that indicated in the contract, you should contact your provider in order to find the procedure for checking and assessing these differences, for complaining about the assessed problems and for asking about the applicable remedies (e.g., subscription discount).                                                    

Other technical quality indicators are: packet delayjitter and packet loss. The values of these indicators are important when using certain applications such as videoconferences or online games and must be specified in contracts to the extent they are guaranteed by the provider.

 

Administrative quality indicators

 

The fault repair term (hours), the service provision term (days) and the complaint settling term (days) are the administrative indicators established by ANCOM for the provision of the internet service.

 

The providers must mention these indicators, expressed in hours or days, in the contracts with their users. Check them in your contract!

 

The contract must contain information regarding the compensations you are entitled to if the fault has not been repaired within the stipulated term, if the provider has exceeded the service connection term or has not been settled your complaint within the due term. The contract must also provide the calculation method for the respective compensations (subscription discount, bonus traffic etc.) and the procedure you should follow in order to receive those compensations.

 

With a view to assessing the quality level of a provider’s services, the users can also check the values of some global indicators of service quality, such as:

·         frequency of user complaints;

·         frequency of troubleshooting complaints;

·         frequency of billing complaints;

·         service provision term;

·         fault repair term;

·         complaint settlement term.

 

The providers will post the values of the administrative quality indicators on their websites on a half-yearly basis, and will keep the values corresponding to at least the past two semesters posted on their website or at their work stations, as applicable.

 

About what, how and where you can complain

 

If you want to complain to your provider about failures in your service, you should read the Complaint Handling Procedure, and the Procedure for Measuring Quality Parameters, available on the respective provider’s website. N.B. For each complaint you submit, the provider must give you a registration number.

 

If your provider has breached its contractual obligations of informing you on the service quality and on the other aspects detailed above, ANCOM may step in. Find out how you can Complain to ANCOM!

 

If your provider has breached its contractual obligations undertaken as regards service quality (e.g. the fault repair term) or it refuses to grants compensations where proved substantial differences occur, permanently or on a regular basis, between the real service performance and that indicated in the contract, you may address the National Authority for Consumer Protection. In this situation, ANCOM can provide counselling and mediation, but cannot sanction the provider.