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TalkTalk has described Ofcom's "abrupt u-turn" on telecoms switching as "a major blow for consumers".

The watchdog had proposed new rules to make it easier for consumers to switch to a new phone, TV and broadband bundle, with the new provider handling the switching process within ten days.

This prompted some criticism from a number of broadband providers, who argued it would be expensive and force costs to be passed onto customers.

Ofcom has now abandoned the plans, on the grounds that they would cost the sector £110 million over the next ten years and potentially hit investment in network upgrades.

However, TalkTalk was an enthusiastic backer of the approach originally put forward and has criticised the watchdog's latest decision.

"After years of promising action, it is disappointing that Ofcom has instead bowed to industry pressure and decided that protecting the status quo is more important than protecting consumers," a spokesperson commented.

TalkTalk added that Ofcom’s own research shows that nearly eight out of ten people who consider changing providers opt not to do so because the process is too difficult..

This, it said, means consumers are left "suffering poor service and high prices".

Lindsey Fussell, Consumer Group Director at Ofcom, insisted the watchdog remains committed to making it simpler for customers to shop around rather than stay on contracts that do not suit their needs.

"We plan to make things easier, by breaking down the barriers that prevent customers from engaging in the communications market," she said.

"We want to help telecoms and TV customers take full advantage of the products and deals out there."

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