UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed plans to change the processes used to switch voice and broadband provider on the copper network belonging to Kingston upon Hull-based KCOM, which offers residential services under the ‘KC’ banner. With national fixed line incumbent BT’s copper infrastructure not available in the Kingston upon Hull area, Ofcom launched a consultation last October asking whether customers might benefit from harmonising the two existing switching processes to a single process and, if so, whether this process should be led by the gaining or the losing provider. Its work in this area followed similar activities related to the network managed by Openreach, BT’s infrastructure arm, in 2013, at which date it harmonised the processes used to switch fixed voice and broadband services to a single process led by the Gaining Provider.
Now, on the back of last year’s consultation Ofcom has said that it has determined that the problems arising from the existing processes and the ‘resulting consumer harm’ support plans to decommission the Losing Provider Migration Authorisation Code (LPL MAC) process on the KCOM network. It will be replaced with the existing Gaining Provider Led Notice of Transfer (NoT) process in a move which the regulator claims should ‘deliver improvements for consumers more quickly, with lower implementation risk and at lower cost, than changing to a different switching process’.
However, Ofcom has said it recognises potential problems associated with the NoT process, including break in service, erroneous transfers, and lack of clarity over the implications of switching. To address such issues, Ofcom has said that among other things it will require: Gaining Providers (GPs) to obtain and store a record of customer consent to switch; GPs electing to co-ordinate the transfer of bundled services to submit an order to KCOM, where available, for simultaneous transfer with minimal loss of service; and Losing Providers (LPs) should provide consumers with better information on the implications of their decision to switch.
Under the regulatory decision, KCOM and the providers which offer services over its copper network, have been given until 20 June 2015 to ensure that the harmonised GPL NoT switching regime is in place.