Loop Scorpio Limited
Consumer Code of Practice
1. The Purpose of this Code
We have produced this Code of Practice as part of our obligations under the new telecommunications regulations that came in to force on 25th July 2003. The overall purpose of the Code is to provide consumers with a clear statement of the range of policies, services and support activities that we offer. It is intended to provide sufficient information for you, the consumer, to understand the range of services available from us, and how to contact us whether to obtain a new service, clarify our terms and conditions, obtain support from us, or indeed to make a complaint.
2. Who We are
Loop Scorpio Limited is primarily a provider of broadband connectivity and services. A common term used by such companies is that of “Internet Service Provider” or ISP. However, that term can cover a very wide variety of operations and as a result can lead to confusion. An example of this is that we ourselves are occasionally asked whether the customer will (in addition to us) still need to use an ISP.
A typical ISP will offer three basic services:
· Connectivity to the Internet
· A facility to send and receive of emails
· A facility to host a web site
For the large majority of consumers, their needs for the sending/receiving of emails and for the hosting of a web site are not that onerous, and thus perhaps the most important service is that of Internet connectivity. This is where we, as a company, have also placed our focus. We are not, therefore, in the business of offering mission critical email and/or web hosting solutions.
Loop Scorpio Limited is a small, geographically focussed company. We are based in Gloucester and have operations in both Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. We primarily use our own self-provided infrastructure in our areas of operation and this necessitates that we only offer service where we can realistically support our infrastructure. This is in contrast to the majority of ISPs who essentially resell services over BT’s local access network and are thus able to offer a “national” service.
We are a local company, offering local levels of service and support. We will prosper or die on our ability to live up to (and hopefully exceed) the rising expectations of our customers.
3. How to Contact Us
We offer a variety of means of contact, depending on your needs at any point in time. The principal methods are detailed below:
Our main telephone number is 01452 674 010
For general enquiries you can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. For enquiries specific to one of our areas of operation (such as Ledbury Broadband, Highnam Broadband etc) you can email us on email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org etc.
Should you wish to, or need to, contact us formally in writing then please do so either to our head office address:
Loop Scorpio Ltd
121-131 Eastgate Street
Or alternatively to our Registered Office address:
Loop Scorpio Ltd
6 Worcester Road
4. Our Aims and Goals
Loop Scorpio aims to become a major local player in the provision of broadband connectivity within the counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Our goal is to provide our customers with broadband connectivity that scales in a way similar to that of the PC industry. To achieve this, we must sidestep BT’s local access network and introduce our own infrastructure.
The use of our own local access infrastructure results in us being able to offer a “community” network in addition to conventional Internet access. Access to and across the community network will not be constrained by the capacity of our “backhaul” Internet connection, and will, we hope, encourage a new way of thinking in terms of local, community connectivity and services.
5. The Services We Offer
The primary service we currently offer is a wireless-based broadband Internet access service, including a basic email and web hosting facility.
We also offer enhanced broadband Internet access services, though the availability of these will typically vary depending on the state of our network rollout at any point in time. “Enhanced” in this sense can mean either:
· Improved access speed
· Lower contention ratios
· Dedicated wired access to our main Point of Presence in that location (effectively bypassing the local wireless network).
For the dedicated wired access, we make use of either our own fibre optic connections or fibre/copper local access circuits obtained from Openreach.
6. Customer Service
Being a small company, we have to be realistic in the level of customer service that we can support. Having said that, we are deliberately focussing our rollouts on areas within around a 30 minute drive from our head office in Gloucester. This is to help ensure that the time-cost of us popping out to visit a customer is manageable.
Because we are locally based, many of our customers get to know us personally, and know that we will help out where and when we can either by telephone support or by a brief (and sometimes not so brief!) visit to their premises. We do not have any set times as to when support is or is not available – that will by necessity have to wait until we have grown sufficiently to justify dedicated customer support staff.
We are building our customer base through the use of a variety of techniques including:
· Local press advertising
· Internet site presence
· Targeted leafleting
· Referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations
· Occasional doorstep selling and telesales
Where potential customers indicate to us that they do not wish to be directly contacted again we do our best to respect their wishes. In addition, when undertaking telesales activities, the telephone numbers called are screened using the Telephone Preference Service. If you wish to register with them that you do not want to receive “cold calls” by phone, then please visit their website (www.tpsonline.org.uk).
Ordering our Services
Customers wishing to order our service can contact us either in writing, by phone, or by email. The provision of our service is always subject to a satisfactory site survey to ensure that a reasonable level of signal can be received at the location. However, in many cases we are confident enough to conduct the site survey at the same time as the actual installation.
For our basic service we only operate a rolling one-month contract with the monthly fee paid up in advance. Having said this, there are a number of areas where we do need a longer-term commitment, for example:
· Where the service has been provided under the Rabbit scheme (www.rabbit-broadband.org.uk/)
· Where the customer is “hosting” a node
· Where a dedicated circuit has been provided
We will use our reasonable endeavours to fix faults as soon as we can. However, we are not in a position to be able to specific guarantees on either a time-to-respond or a time-to-repair.
Up to date pricing on our standard services is available on the web site, or can be requested by any of the normal contact means.
Our standard billing cycle is monthly in advance, payable by direct debit. The installation/connection fee is payable as soon as the service has been successfully installed and shown to be operational.
Should a customer cease to pay for the service, then we reserve the right to charge interest on the overdue amount and/or to suspend/cancel the service until the account has been brought up to date.
Complaint Handing and Dispute Resolution
We take all complaints seriously and will do what we reasonably can to resolve the issue speedily and to the satisfaction of the customer concerned. If you have an issue with any aspect of our service, please call us on (01452) 563 030 and we will do our best to resolve it.
If at the end of this procedure you feel your complaint has not been addressed properly, you can contact Otelo, our independent dispute resolution Service.
PO Box 730
Telephone: 0845 050 1614.
Otelo is an independent approved dispute resolution service and is empowered to resolve customer disputes; we are committed to this process. Otelo is approved by the communications regulator Ofcom.
If your complaint has not been resolved by us or our dispute resolution agency, or you require further information on the role of Ofcom see www.ofcom.org.uk or call them on 0845 456 3000.
7. Customer Rights and Obligations
Your rights and obligations when using our services are detailed in three documents, with the current versions available on our web sites. The documents are:
· General Terms and Conditions
· Access Node Supplemental Terms and Conditions (only applicable to “node” customers)
· Acceptable Usage Policy
Of these three documents, only two are relevant to most customers, with the third applicable to “node” customers only (that is, those customers who have agreed to host additional equipment necessary for us to improve the rollout of our networks).
8. How We Communicate with Our Customers
We aim to communicate with our current and potential customers using the most effective (and cost effective) means available. In practice, the majority of direct (one to one) communication with customers will be either via email or telephone. Where we wish to communicate on a wider basis than this will tend to be done via news and/or other postings on the most relevant web site.
In addition to the above, we are happy to support independent user-group web site forums and will seek to keep ourselves conversant with relevant posts – contributing ourselves as and when we feel it is appropriate. However, we do not monitor new postings on these sites with the same regularity as on our own sites.
This Code of Practice is in itself one of our methods of communication with our customers, as it seeks to outline our business aims, the services we offer, and what you should be able to expect from us as your service provider. A copy of this Code is posted on our web sites. However, if you would like us to post you a copy then please do contact us via email, phone, or post and we will happily send you one. If you would like to receive it in a particular format (for example, a larger font size) then specify this at the time of asking and we will endeavour to oblige.
9. Social Responsibility
Being a wireless-based Internet service provider, we are aware of the fact that we need to consider the visual impact of additional aerials on buildings. To the extent practical and cost-effective, we aim to minimise this impact, though clearly we cannot remove it altogether.
“Always on” connectivity
One of the key advantages of a broadband Internet connection is usually stated as being that it is “always on”. However, with that key advantage comes the associated issue that the computer could now be permanently accessible by people with either mischievous or malicious intent. We always endeavour to emphasise to our customers the importance of ensuring that their computers are adequately protected from intrusion. On request, we can provide links to both free (for personal use) and commercial software products that can provide an invaluable “firewall” capability. We also encourage customers that wish to connect multiple computers to strongly consider the use of a hardware router/firewall.
In common with other Internet service providers, we are well aware that not all content on the Internet is either suitable for, or desired by, all users. Unfortunately, it would be neither practical nor cost effective for us to currently provide a “filtering” service to our users to screen out “unsuitable” content. We will however, keep this under review, and may well introduce such a service in the future with customers being able to opt in or out as they deem appropriate.
Where our customers inform us of special needs regarding either the installation of our service, or their ability to use it on an on-going basis, we will use our reasonable endeavours to satisfy those needs. Examples of this for our customers to consider would be:
· Special positioning of the connection point inside the house (perhaps at waist height rather than close to the floor)
· The use of a larger font for formal communications such as invoices etc
10. Approval and Review of this Code
We will publish revisions to this Code of Practice as and when we feel it will be necessary and/or beneficial. However, we also undertake to conduct a formal review of the Code once a year.
If you have any specific comments on this Code of Practice, or would like us to consider specific amendments, corrections, or improvements in a future revision, then please do contact us.
11. Further Contact Information
Ofcom Consumer Representation Section
2a Southwark Bridge Road
Web site: www.ofcom.org.uk
Tel: 020 7981 3000
Office of the Telecommunications Ombudsman (Otelo)
Web site: www.otelo.org.uk
Tel: 020 7634 5301
Fax: 01925 430 059
Telephone Preference Service (TPS)
70 Margaret Street
Tel: 020 7291 3320
Fax: 020 7323 4226