Ofcom to bring in easier broadband switching from tomorrow

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Ofcom chief executive Sharon White

New ‘one touch’ process will place the responsibility for the switch directly into the hands of the company to which the customer is moving

Ofcom is introducing new broadband switching rules from tomorrow that it claims will make it easier for millions of customers to change provider.

Customers switching between providers who use Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk, will be able to use a ‘one touch’ process that will place responsibility for the broadband or landline switch entirely in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving.

Under the new system, consumers will no longer need to cancel their contract with their old provider, with the whole process handled by their new supplier on their behalf.

Once the switching process is underway, the consumer will receive written confirmation from both the old and new provider and if the consumer changes their mind, they can cancel the switch.

Providers must also keep records of each consumer’s consent to switch to protect against ‘slamming’ – where a customer’s supplier is changed without their knowledge or consent.

The telecoms regulator said consumers currently wanting to change provider face a number of different switching processes, depending on who they are moving from and to, and the type of service being switched.

Often they have to contact their existing provider to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC), which they would give to their new provider. Ofcom said its research has found that when consumers have had to contact their existing provider to request a change, the process can be significantly more difficult for them to follow.

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White (pictured) said: “The new process puts the responsibility for the switching process in the hands of the provider the customer is joining.

“This will make a real difference for consumers, and will encourage more people to take advantage of very strong competition in the landline and broadband markets.”

Ofcom said it is now looking at ways to make it easier for mobile phone customers to change provider.

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