Ofcom to simplify broadband switching process

The regulator said it hoped more people would switch supplier as a result.
The reforms would make it easier to switch broadband provider.The reforms would make it easier to switch broadband provider.
The reforms would make it easier to switch broadband provider.

Broadband and landline customers would benefit from quicker, simpler and more reliable switching, under Ofcom plans to introduce a new ‘one touch’ process.

Four in ten people who consider switching but decide not to are put off by having to speak to both their old and new provider.

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The new approach would mean all residential customers only have to contact their new company to switch. This follows new rules introduced in 2019 that enable mobile customers to switch operator by simply sending a free text message.

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Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch.com, said customers could save around £90 a year by switching.

He said: “Ofcom’s proposals to simplify the switching process for those changing broadband networks are vital to build consumer confidence.

“Switching broadband can feel like a complicated process and can put some consumers off searching for a better deal, potentially costing them £90 a year as they sit out of contract with their existing provider.”

Under the new process, a customer would contact their chosen new provider and give their details and would then automatically receive important information from their current provider such as any early contract termination charges they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect other services the customer has with the company. If the customer wants to go ahead, the new provider would then manage the switch

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's networks and communications group director, said: “There are lots of different offers out there from a wide range of broadband and landline providers. And we want to make it even easier for people to get a better deal or upgrade to a faster, more reliable service.

“We know some customers can be put off by the hassle of having to deal with more than one provider when trying to switch. So our proposals today aim to make the process as seamless as possible, for everyone.”

Ofcom is consulting on today’s proposals until 31 March, and aims to publish its decision in the summer. If approved, the new rules will come into force in December 2022.

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