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Ofcom changes make switching broadband provider simpler

Friday, June 19th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Switching broadband or landline providers will become a simpler process for consumers from tomorrow.

Changes put in place by Ofcom will make it easier to switch between providers that use the broadband network operated by Openreach – including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.

From Saturday 20 June, a new ‘one touch’ process puts the responsibility of switching the broadband or landline service in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving.

Currently, customers wanting to change provider face a number of different switching processes, depending on whom they are moving from and to, and the type of service being switched.

Often consumers have to contact their existing provider to obtain a Migrant Authorisation Code, known as a MAC, to give to their new provider.

That process can be confusing and time consuming, and put people off moving to a better deal, according to Ofcom.

Under the new system, consumers will no longer need to cancel their contract with their old provider.

'Very strong competition'

Instead, the whole switching process will be handled by the new supplier on the customer’s behalf.

Customers must receive written confirmation from both the old and new providers once the switching process gets under way.

They will also have the right to cancel the switch should they change their mind.

Ofcom have also told providers to keep records of each consumer’s consent to switch, to protect against ‘slamming’ – where someone's supplier is changed without their knowledge or consent.

Ofcom CEO Sharon White 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.”

Simplifying the switching process is the latest measure introduced by Ofcom to give more power to consumers and to force providers to take more responsibility.

Cable.co.uk reported last week that customers will be able to leave their broadband provider at any time if they suffer from persistent low speeds or unresolved issues.

Ofcom is also looking at improving broadband contract terms, improving complaints handling in the telecoms industry and ways to make it easier for mobile phone customers to change provider.

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