Quarterly data will allow users to compare service providers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 March, 2008, 12:00am

Broadband users will be able to compare statistics on the city's five major service providers from next month, allowing them to make more informed choices before they sign up with one.

The statistics, to be issued by five major operators on a quarterly basis, will look at areas including reliability, service repair, technical performance and the handling of customer queries and complaints.

The figures will reveal whether the providers have met performance pledges issued in January. The five providers are Hong Kong Broadband Network, Hutchison Global Communications, New World Telecommunications, PCCW's Netvigator and i-Cable.

Telecoms watchdog Ofta said the operators accounted for 97 per cent of the city's broadband users and that the move would allow consumers to make more informed choices. But it said the performance pledges were not a guarantee or a set of uniform standards.

'Standardising the performance pledges would be counterproductive because it would inhibit the individuality and innovation [of service providers] and reduce customer choice,' an Ofta spokeswoman said.

York Mok Sui-wah, chairman of the Hong Kong Internet Service Providers Association, said different providers had different business models and imposing uniform standards was inappropriate.

He said the operators might adjust their standards after publishing the statistics a few times, depending on how the public reacted to them.

'Internet users in Hong Kong have good computer knowledge and the data will be useful in allowing them to compare broadband services,' he said.

Kenneth So Wai-hang, head of public affairs at the Consumer Council, welcomed the data but urged people to consider other factors when choosing a service provider.

'They should consider the price and read the contract carefully before subscribing,' Mr So said.