Ofcom has announced new plans to make switching broadband provider easier. The regulator is currently in the consultation phase where it asks the public if they agree with the proposals, this will run until March 31. The final plans are expected to be introduced by December 2022.
As things stand in the UK, switching between providers on the Openreach network is fairly straightforward but if you switch from a copper line to fibre or from Virgin Media to an operator on Openreach you may have to get in contact with both your existing operator and your new one to arrange the switch-over.
Under Ofcom’s plans, you would contact the new provider about switching, then you’d receive any important information from your current provider and consent to the switch, and then your new contract would start on the agreed date and your old services would end, no matter which providers you switch between.
Commenting on the proposals, Ofcom’s Networks and Communications Group Director Lindsey Fussell 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’s plan to make switching broadband providers easier comes just a few years after it introduced changes that allow mobile phone users to get their PAC code via text making a switch to a new provider easier. It hopes that lowering barriers to switching will help make the broadband market more competitive which should result in better prices for customers.
The regulator recently found that 40% of people avoid switching broadband providers due to the hassle of needing to contact more than one provider. A similar number of people were also discouraged from switching because they thought the process would be too time-consuming. With the new rules, customers will only have to interact with their new provider, limiting unwanted attempts from the current provider to keep you as their customer.