Arguing that subscribers should be able to switch broadband provider more easily, British telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed a new ‘one touch’ system under which it claims will customers benefit from ‘quicker, simpler and more reliable switching’. The plans follow the regulator’s October 2020 publication of new rules that include a requirement for a customer’s new broadband provider to take the lead in managing the switch – regardless of whether the customer moves between different networks, or to a full-fibre service on the same network.
Now, after considering several different options proposed by the industry for how to implement these rules in practice, Ofcom has put forward its ‘one touch’ system for both fixed line voice and broadband residential customers. As per this process, the first step would be for a customer to contact their new chosen provider and give them their details. Following this, the customer would then automatically receive important information from their current provider, including any early contract termination charges they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect other services the customer has with the company. Assuming the customer wants to proceed with the switch, the new provider would then manage this.
With the consultation on the proposals running until 31 March 2021, Ofcom has said it aims to publish a final decision ‘in the summer’. The regulator has, however, suggested that the new switching process will not come into force until December 2022, due to the fact that companies will need to make ‘significant’ changes to their systems.