Ofcom has published new
proposals aimed at making it easier for broadband and landline customers to
switch providers and encouraging competition between providers.
The move follows research
by the regulator which reveals nearly half (45%) of consumers with broadband or
a landline think that switching communications provider is too much trouble.
Ofcom is proposing the
customer’s new service provider takes the lead on switching the service. However, it also recommends measures to protect
consumers from so-called ‘slamming’, where customers are switched without their
In a statement, the regulator
said: ‘The new provider has an incentive to ensure that the switching process
is as smooth as possible. This is also more likely to deliver lower prices,
more choice and innovation for consumers because it facilitates communications
providers competing vigorously for rivals’ customers.’
Ofcom is also looking at
making the switching process between broadband and landline bundles easier. The
regulator points to research that shows 50% of consumers now take more than one
product in a bundle, which is likely to make switching even more complex.
According to Ofcom’s research, of those consumers who
have switched broadband provider using the Migration Authorisation Code (MAC)
process, over a third (39%) think that changing provider seems like too much
The research also shows
that, of the consumers who have switched landline or broadband provider using
the Notification of Transfer process, nearly a quarter (22%) of people think
that changing provider seems like too much trouble.
Responding to new research and proposals from Ofcom on switching telecoms
provider, Robert Hammond of Consumer Focus said:‘It is worrying that so
many consumers think switching their broadband or phone line is not worth the
trouble. Making switching easier can boost competition among providers and
bring down prices for consumers. At the moment, the broadband and landline
markets are simply baffling for consumers.’
warned: ‘Changes to who is responsible for the switching process will not
always result in consumers getting a better deal, unless they are accompanied
by better information for consumers. We would encourage people to use an
independent price comparison website to make sure they are getting the best deal
and only paying for the calls and internet speeds they really need.’
Ofcom is planning to publish a second consultation to further develop the
proposals in spring 2011.