Ofcom to make broadband and landline switching easier

Ofcom to make broadband and landline switching easier

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 consent.

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 trouble.

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.’

However, he 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.

Written by Mobile Today
Mobile Today


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