Ofcom has published new proposals to help customers move between broadband providers who use different physical networks.
The regulator has already mandated simplified switching between ISPs who use the Openreach network and now wants to extend this to cover switching between ISPs who use rival networks.
Under the current system, customers switching between different networks or technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic – need to contact their existing and new ISPs to co-ordinate the switch.
A new ‘one touch’ process would see the customer contact their chosen new provider and then automatically receive important information, such as early contract termination charges and the effect of switching on other services, from their current provider.
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.”
The new proposals are subject to consultation and won’t come into effect until December 2022 to allow companies to make changes to their systems.
Responding to Ofcom’s announcement, Openreach Regulatory Affairs MD Mark Shurmer 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.”