Ofcom to offer easier broadband and landline switching options

Ofcom has announced that it is introducing new measures to enable consumers to more easily change their broadband and landline provider.

The UK communications regulator is looking to change the way companies handle the changeover process for providing broadband and landline services and also introducing rules that decrease the chance of connection loss during the transition.

Currently the existing provider is in charge of handling any requests to change companies, but Ofcom will be moving this power to the new provider on behalf of the customer.

According to Ofcom, customers find the current process of changing provider complicated and difficult, often finding themselves under pressure from current providers not to change.

“Today’s announcement represents an important milestone in Ofcom’s work to improve consumers’ experience when switching provider” said Claudio Pollack, Consumer Group Director at Ofcom. “The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers’ best interest. We will now be working on further measures to improve consumers’ experience of switching.”

Ofcom will also be introducing new measures to help protect UK broadband customers from any loss of service during the transition period without their express consent.

“Ofcom’s latest decision to help make switching landline and broadband providers easier is an important milestone and greatly needed,” commented Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk. “We regularly hear from customers who were keen to switch but have faced so much hassle from their current provider they eventually gave up, missing out on the cost savings and improved service that come with changing provider.”

All the details of the new plan will be finalised by early 2014 says Ofcom, with the changes eventually implemented within a year.

“Putting the provider that customers want to switch to in change of the procces will eliminate the tug-of-war that broadband customers sometimes find themselves in, putting it more on a par with energy switching – seamless and painless,” added Baliszewski.

Ofcom says it is also looking at enforcing similar changes for pay TV and mobile services in the future.

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