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New rules aimed at making it easier to switch broadband providers came into force in 2015.

The changes come on the back of extensive consultations by Ofcom back in 2012, aiming to discover the factors that dissuaded consumers from switching provider.

Looking to switch provider? Find out all you need to know and get the inside line on the changes to the switching process with our one-stop guide: How to switch broadband

The regulator's research discovered that the complicated process involved in switching suppliers was the key reason many consumers did not bother to switch.

One of the barriers it identified was that customers who wanted to switch were forced to contact their existing provider, which in many cases had incentives to delay or disrupt any transfer.

As a result, Ofcom decided in 2013 that a simpler process should be drawn up that removes obstacles to switching.

The principal purpose of the new measures is to hand greater control of the switching process to the provider to whom the customer is switching and eliminate entirely the need for consumers to contact their existing supplier.

Known as the 'gaining power led system', under the new code of practice broadband providers will keep a record of consent for all switches. This is intended to reduce the chance of customers being transferred to another provider without their knowledge or consent - a practice known as 'slamming'.

The new system applies to customers who are switching between providers who use BT's OpenReach network. These are the likes of BT, EE and TalkTalk.

The sole major exception to the rules is when customers are switching to or from Virgin Media's cable broadband service. In this case, a different, so-called cease-and-re-provide' system is enforced, details of which can be found in our guide to switching.

To keep track of switches, Ofcom's code stipulates that providers and service resellers have to obtain a three-digit reseller ID (RID) from Ofcom, which can then be used to monitor and protect the movement of services.

Companies also have to take measures to ensure consumers do not lose any service at any point during the switch.

They're also obliged to ensure that procedures are in place to reduce the impact of consumers having their lines switched accidentally when, for example, moving house.

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