Ofcom to make it easier to switch broadband provider

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Telecoms regulator Ofcom said it is launching a new service that will enable customers to switch their broadband service in just one day and without having to contact both their new and existing broadband provider.


The regulator said the ‘One Touch Switch’ process, which will apply to all home broadband user and will come into force in April 2023, means users only need to speak to their new broadband provider and not to their existing one.


Previously, users wanting to move from a provider using the Openreach network, such as BT Group PLC (LSE:BT.A), Sky and TalkTalk, to companies using their own technology, such as Virgin Media (NASDAQ:VMED), had to contact both providers.


Ofcom said its research has found that four in ten people decide against switching because they are put off by the hassle of having to contact more than one provider.


The regulator is hoping the new ‘one touch’ process will encourage more users to look for a faster package, cheaper deal or better customer service.


The new service will also be faster, taking just one day where this is technically possible, Ofcom said.


Under the new rules, providers will also have to compensate customers if they are left without a service for more than one working day.


“Household finances are strained at the moment, so switching broadband provider could help keep your bills down,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Networks and Communications Group Director.


BT called for the new rules to be extended to customers who have their broadband as part of a package tied to a Pay-TV subscription.


“We want to make switching broadband providers as simple as possible for consumers, regardless of which network they are on,” a BT spokesperson told the Guardian.


“By allowing customers to only have to notify their new provider, we believe this process will do just that. We also want the new process to extend to switching Pay-TV providers, so that the benefits of seamless switching are not undermined for those who take a ‘triple play’ bundle of voice, broadband and pay TV.”

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