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Quality of the internet access service

The providers have the freedom to set the service quality and availability parameters, according to their commercial policy and to the technologies used, but they also have explicit obligations (EU Regulation No 2015/2120) to inform the users about the quality parameters of the provided services.

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

Technical quality indicators

* The data transfer rate is the most important technical quality indicator perceived by a user of the internet access service.

Given the large number of providers of fixed and mobile internet access services in Romania, you can choose from several providers as well as from multiple technologies, depending on your own needs.

However, you should keep in mind that most of the offers dedicated to residential users available on the market do not guarantee a certain speed throughout the whole usage period of the internet access service.

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, during peak hours, congestions may occur.

In the case of fixed internet access, the transfer rate depends both on the quality of the access line and on the equipment used (firewall, computer, operating system, RadioLAN, modem etc.).

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

To ensure transparency of the information regarding the quality of the provided service, the providers must mention, in the contract and on their webpages, the following:

For the fixed internet access service:

  • minimum data transfer rate;
  • commonly available transfer rate;
  • best effort data transfer rate;
  • advertised data transfer rate (the one a provider uses in its commercial messages).

For the mobile internet access service:

  • estimated best effort data transfer rate;
  • advertised data transfer rate.

To ensure the possibility of evaluating the quality of the offered service, information on the transfer rate shall be accompanied by the following explanations:

  • 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:

  • explanations regarding the possible remedies for users in case of significant, permanent or regularly repeated differences between the actual performance of the service and the one indicated in the contract;
  • the procedure a user can follow for measuring the actual performance of the internet access service in order to assess the above-mentioned differences and subsequently ask for compensations.

ANCOM’s is an application where you can measure the service performance and see its dynamics over time. The measurements performed using indicate a value of the internet access service parameters that is closer to the users’ experience, since the measurements include the whole network of the provider, as well as other networks interconnected with it, for smaller providers (with less subscribers).

Through the application, ANCOM makes half yearly and yearly statistics regarding the quality of service for fixed and mobile internet access in Romania, including the average download speed experienced by each user who conducted measurements through the application, sorted by providers.

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

If significant differences occur, permanently or on a regular basis, between the actual service performance and that indicated in the contract, contact your service provider to find out the procedure for measuring these differences and for complaining about the issues you experience, and what remedies you are entitled to (e.g. reducing the subscription value).

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.

Providers must include in their contracts with end-users the values of these indicators, expressed in hours or days, as applicable. Check the provisions of your contract.

The contract must also 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 provision term or has not 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 to receive those compensations.

To evaluate the level of the quality of services offered by the provider, users may also check the value of several global indicators for the quality of service, such as:

  • frequency of user complaints;
  • frequency of troubleshooting complaints;
  • frequency of complaints regarding the correctness of billing;
  • 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 field offices, as applicable.

About what, how and where can you complain

If you wish to complain to your provider about service failures, we advise you to 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 take measures. See how you can notify us.  Consult the section Complain to ANCOM!

If your provider has breached its contractual obligations regarding the quality of service (e.g. the fault repair term) or refuses to grant compensations where proved substantial differences occur, permanently or on a regular basis, between the actual 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.