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Ofcom has proposed a new set of measures to make switching broadband and landline providers simpler and more reliable.

The media regulator is aiming to give consumers greater flexibility, while protecting them from being switched without their knowledge or consent.

Enabling consumers to change providers easily is important to ensure they can choose the broadband or telephone service that best suits their needs, said Ofcom.

Research conducted by the regulator indicated that subscribers can face a number of problems when changing their service provider.

Ofcom reported that one in five consumers switching their broadband lost their service for about a week.

And approximately 130,000 households have faced problems with the wrong telephone line being taken over during the switching process, or when moving house during a 12-month period.

An estimated 520,000 households had their landline or broadband services switched without their consent in the last year, the regulator said.

Ofcom wants to see the new broadband provider manage the switching process, including the transfer of services from the old provider.

To guard against 'slamming', the switch would be checked and verified by an independent third party.

The regulator is eager to ensure all providers can compete, so consumers can continue to benefit from innovation, choice and value for money.

Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said smooth switching processes are "essential" to ensure consumers can change providers with confidence.

"Many people think that the current systems are too difficult and unreliable which is why we have made it one of our priorities to tackle this problem," he stated.

"Ofcom has improved consumer information on broadband speeds and enhanced competition in the market but it is also essential that people are able to switch easily to exercise their choice."

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