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Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Switching broadband is about to get a LOT easier: Ofcom reveals plans to introduce a 'one touch' process that could let you switch operators in as little as a day

  • Ofcom proposal will be considered along with others until March 31  
  • Would make it easier for customers to swap providers with less hassle 
  • Transition and paperwork would instead betaken on by the new internet providerSwitching from one broadband provider could get much simpler, quicker and easier under new rules suggested by Ofcom. 

    The communications regulator wants to allow customers to be able to shop around for the best deal without fear of protracted procedures which force customers to talk to the old and new supplier as well as organising the transition. 

    Instead, it has proposed a mechanism for a seamless handover which would see customers only having to talk to their new supplier. 


  • Ofcom wants to allow customers to be able to shop around without fear of protracted procedures which forces the customer to talk to the old and new supplier as well as organising the transition

    Ofcom wants to allow customers to be able to shop around without fear of protracted procedures which forces the customer to talk to the old and new supplier as well as organising the transition 

    HOW DOES IT WORK? 

    Under this process:

    1. A customer would contact their chosen new provider and give their details.

    2. The customer would then automatically receive important information from their current provider. This would include any early contract termination charges they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect other services the customer has with the company. 

    3. If the customer wants to go ahead, the new provider would then manage the switch.The company selected to be the new broadband provider would manage the entire switching process on behalf of the client. 

    Ofcom believes the so-called 'One Touch Switch' will not only make the process less hassle, but also enable people to take advantage of the best deals.

    It would also prevent a gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.

    Since 2015, the practice has been possible when switching between companies using Openreach's copper network, such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk.

    But so far this has not applied when changing to or from firms using different networks, like Virgin Media and Hyperoptic, meaning the customer has the burden of contacting their existing provider.

    Four in ten people (41 per cent) who decide against switching say they are put off by the hassle of having to contact more than one provider, according to an Ofcom survey of 3,104 people.

    Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of those who do go ahead with switching say they have faced unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay when informing their current provider.'There are lots of different offers out there from a wide range of broadband and landline providers,' said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's networks and communications group director.

    '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.

    Ofcom believes the so-called 'One Touch Switch' will not only make the process less hassle, but also enable people to take advantage of the best deals

     Ofcom believes the so-called 'One Touch Switch' will not only make the process less hassle, but also enable people to take advantage of the best deals

    'So our proposals today aim to make the process as seamless as possible, for everyone.'

    Ofcom has also come up with alternative idea it is considering, called the 'Code to Switch', which works similar to how transferring mobile phone numbers works with a code.

    If either system is chosen, companies will need to make significant changes to their systems, Ofcom said.

    The regulator is consulting on the proposals until March 31, with the aim of publishing a decision in the summer and enforcing the new rules in December 2022.

    Mark Shurmer, Managing Director of Regulatory Affairs at Openreach, said: 'We already manage around 175,000 switches every month between providers on the Openreach network and that process is designed to be very straightforward for customers.

    'We support Ofcom's ambition to make switching between different network providers equally simple.

    'We believe that any solution for cross-platform switching needs to be really simple for consumers and businesses and we'll be responding to the consultation with that in mind.'

    BT and EE launch 'unbreakable' home internet 

    BT has unveiled what it calls an 'unbreakable' home internet solution which combines the firm's Wi-Fi connectivity with the EE mobile network.

    The so-called Halo 3+ package features the new 'Hybrid Connect' technology which links the EE 4G mobile network to a home's broadband connection.

    The central BT hub connects to a 4G modem and if it detects the wired internet has been knocked out it automatically switches over to the mobile network.     

    It does this within 90 seconds to get the user back online in minutes, BT claims. 

    BT Halo 3+ will be available from February 5 and will cost new customers £65.99 per month.

    Hybrid Connect is available as an add-on for new and existing BT broadband customers, costing £7 per month. 

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