- Ofcom unveils new rules to ease broadband and landline switching
- The process would mean that customers would only need to contact their new provider
- We explain how this will work and when you can expect to see the rules in force
Ofcom announced this week that broadband and landline customers will soon be able to switch providers in a one-touch process.
It aims to make switching telecom firm with residential customers faster and easier, only to contact their new company rather than both new and old.
As a result, customers should be able to switch in as little as one day where possible and this aims to remove a major hurdle for the moving provider.
Families can switch between providers already on OpenReach’s Copper network, such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk, by following a process where their new provider manages the switch.
Broadband and landline customers will soon be able to switch providers in a one-touch process
But for the first time, customers switching between different networks or technologies — for example, from a provider using OpenReach Networks to those using CityFiber, or from Virgin Media to HyperOptic — will be covered by the simpler process.
This money takes a look at how it will work and when it might be implemented.
How does switching currently work?
Currently, broadband and landline customers need to contact both their existing and new providers to sync the switch.
It involves an attempt to bridge the gap between the end of the old service and the introduction of a new one.
Previous Ofcom research showed that two out of five who decided against switching were put off by the hassle of contacting more than one provider.
Another 43 percent were postponed because they felt it would be too time-consuming. Of those who switch, 24 percent of those who contact their current provider face unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.
Hence, the regulator decided that the time has come to ease the process.
How it will work after the new changes are implemented
Ofcom will introduce a new ‘one touch’ process that it says will make it easier for customers to get faster packages, cheaper deals or better customer service when they switch providers.
This will make it even faster – just a day where it’s technically possible.
Below, Ofcom determines what steps customers will need to take.
1. A customer will contact the new provider chosen by him and give his details.
2. The customer then automatically receives critical information from their current provider.
This includes any early contract termination fees they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect the customer’s other services with the company.
3. If the subscriber wishes to proceed, the new provider will manage the switch with the new services, commencing from an agreed date when the old services will cease.
Under the new rules, providers will also have to compensate customers if things go wrong and they are left without service for more than one working day.
Ofcom has banned notice-period charges even after the switch date.
The new plans are expected to make it easier for customers to switch landline and broadband
when will it be?
All providers should have a ‘one touch switch’ process by April 2023.
This would involve making significant changes to their systems and would require a wider range of companies to work together.
Ofcom said it has made it clear to the industry that work should start immediately to meet the deadline.
Lindsey Fussell, director of Ofcom’s Networks and Communications Group, said: ‘Household finances are stressful at the moment, so switching a broadband provider can help keep your bills down.
‘We are making it easy for you to break up with your broadband provider and take advantage of the deals on offer.’
What do providers think about the changes?
While many providers praised the changes, some wanted the new rules to go even further.
A BT spokesperson said: ‘We want to make switching broadband providers as simple as possible for consumers, regardless of the network they are on.
‘By allowing customers to simply notify their new provider, we believe this process will do just that.
‘We look forward to speeding up the new process, and we urge all providers to work collaboratively on it.
‘We also want the new process to extend to switching pay TV providers, so as not to reduce the benefits of seamless switching for those who take a “triple play” bundle of voice, broadband and pay TV.’
This Is Money has sought comment from Virgin Media and TalkTalk but has not yet received a response.
Experts applaud Ofcom’s move but some providers feel it could go even further
How has been the response of experts?
The response from the telecom industry has been generally positive as experts have encouraged Ofcom to implement the plan at the earliest.
Rocio concha, which one? The director of policy and advocacy said: ‘The coronavirus crisis means consumers are more dependent on a good broadband connection than ever before – so it’s positive to see the regulator clearing the barriers that allow people to switch providers and better stopping to receive. deal.
“This new One Touch Switch process should now be implemented expeditiously so that consumers can get the benefits at the earliest.
‘Consumers also should not delay looking for a new deal – anyone unhappy with their current provider could potentially save up to £143 per year and get better service by switching.’
Other experts hope the new rules will encourage more customers to switch providers.
Richard Neudeg, Head of Regulation at Uswitch, said: ‘This is another important step in helping the country upgrade to full fiber.
‘Broadband switching can feel like a complicated process and may deter some consumers from looking for a better deal, potentially costing them £90 per year…