Ofcom’s One Touch Switch standard failed to take off

Ofcom will investigate the reasons for the failed implementation of Ofcom’s One Touch Switch standard, which was designed to make switching broadband easier and quicker.
wi-fi-investmentOfcom announced these rules a year and a half ago to make broadband switching quicker, easier and more reliable for customers.

People can already switch between providers on Openreach’s network – such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk – by following a process where their new provider manages the switch.

Ofcom also wanted to make it easy for customers moving 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. Under the new process, these customers would only have to contact their new provider to switch.

The rules also mean providers must compensate customers if things go wrong with the switch and they are left without a service for more than one working day. Customers should not have to pay any notice-period charges beyond the switch date.

“We have been 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 enforcement program, following this failure to meet a regulatory deadline,” Ofcom said.

“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,” Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Protection, said.

Misplaced concerns over switching providers is costing 11 million broadband customers £1.85 billion a year in potential savings, according to new research from Uswitch.com, the comparison and switching service.

Since Ofcom has failed to enforce this deadline with broadband providers, meaning customers could miss out on potential savings of £162 a year.

One Touch Switch is a new broadband standard, designed to make switching providers easier so customers can swiftly move to a cheaper deal, a faster package or change if they’re unhappy with their broadband service.

The new process would mean switching between physically separate networks, such as from Openreach to Virgin Media, Hyperoptic or CityFibre could be completed seamlessly, 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. Changing providers would be quicker under One Touch Switch, taking just a day where possible, according to Ofcom.