Ofcom launches crackdown after broadband companies missed deadline to introduce easier way for customers to switch providers
- The regulator wants to make it so people are able to change providers easier
- This would allow seamless switching between physically separate networks
Ofcom has launched a crackdown on broadband companies after they missed a deadline to introduce an easier way for customers to switch providers.
The regulator had demanded firms introduce One Touch Switch – a scheme designed by Ofcom to make it easier for households to change to a cheaper or faster broadband service, sometimes within just one day if possible.
It is meant to allow seamless switching between physically separate networks, such as from Openreach to Virgin Media, Hyperoptic or CityFibre, allowing consumers to take advantage of more competitive deals.
Once in place, customers would only need to contact a new broadband provider to switch, and would no longer need to speak to their current provider.
Ofcom had given broadband providers until April this year to put the system in place, but many have not done so just as millions of customers are facing huge increases to their monthly internet bills.
One Touch Switch has been designed by the telecoms watchdog to make it easier for households to change to a cheaper or faster broadband service
The new process would also allow seamless switching between physically separate networks allowing consumers to take advantage of more competitive deals
Customers have been able to switch between providers using the Openreach copper network – including BT, Sky and TalkTalk, simply by contacting the new service for years.
However, those with firms that have their own networks of cables, including superfast broaband providors, and Cityfibre, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic, had to contact both their old supplier and new one.
READ MORE HERE: New Ofcom rules allow households to change services with ‘one touch’ – and you WON’T have to inform your current operator
This meant those wishing to changes have to deal with multiple operators and may also face attempts from their old provider to keep them on the service.
In September 2021 Ofcom announced new rules under which switching could be done in a single day and would no longer involve households liaising with both companies.
All broadband networks were told they must sign up to the ‘One Touch Switch’ process in place by April 2023 to give enough time for the companies to upgrade their systems effectively.
However, the regulator has now confirmed not all firms have signed up, and so it is launching enforcement action to force them to do so.
It said: ‘We have been closely monitoring industry’s progress in implementing the changes, and have been putting pressure on providers to meet their requirements by today’s deadline.
‘Unfortunately, the new process has not been introduced on time.
‘As a result, we have launched an industry-wide enforcement programme, following this failure to meet a regulatory deadline.’
Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s director of telecoms consumer protection, said: ‘Industry has had plenty of warning, plenty of time and plenty of support to get this done.
‘It’s extremely disappointing and frustrating, and providers have let their customers down.
‘We take compliance with our rules very seriously, and have launched enforcement action to make sure companies get this up and running as quickly as possible.’
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