Ofcom today announced a new One Touch Switch process enabling broadband and landline customers to change provider for a better deal.
The change means all home broadband users – including cable and full fibre customers – will only have to contact their new company to switch, with no need to speak to their current provider before making the move.
People can switch between providers on Openreach’s copper network, such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk by following a process where their new provider manages the switch.
“We want to make switching broadband providers as simple as possible for consumers, regardless of which network they are on. By allowing customers to only have to notify their new provider, we believe this process will do just that. We’re keen to get the new process up and running quickly, and we urge all providers to work collaboratively on this,” BT said.
BT wants the new process to extend to switching Pay TV providers, so that the benefits of seamless switching are not undermined for those who take a “triple play” bundle of voice, broadband and pay TV.
For the first time, customers switching between different networks or technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic – will be covered by the simpler process.
Currently, these customers need to contact both their existing and new provider to co-ordinate the switch, which includes trying to bridge the gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.
Ofcom research showed that four in ten people (41 percent) who decide against switching were put off by the hassle of having to contact more than one provider. A similar number (43 percent) were put off switching as they think it will be too time-consuming. Of those who do switch, nearly a quarter (24 percent) who contact their current provider face unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.
The new one touch process will make it easier to get a faster package, cheaper deal or better customer service when you switch provider. It will also make it quicker – just one day where this is technically possible.
Providers will have to compensate customers if things go wrong and they are left without a service for more than one working day. Ofcom has banned notice-period charges beyond the switch date.
All providers must have the One Touch Switch process in place by April 2023. This will involve making changes to their systems and will require a wide range of companies to work together.