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Ofcom announces plans for 'one touch' broadband switching

Ofcom announces plans for 'one touch' broadband switching

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has announced its next steps in easing the hassle you go through when switching broadband.

Currently, around 40% of customers who choose not to switch are discouraged because they don’t want to contact both their old and new provider to get it done. Forty-two percent are also put off by the amount of admin and work required, despite the fact that the switching process is already fairly streamlined between most providers.

To make the task simpler and encourage customers to look out for better deals, Ofcom set out new rules in October 2020 requiring providers across all broadband networks to better manage the switch for customers. This means that your new provider would manage the entire process start to finish, regardless of which network it uses.

And now, this latest policy could help to remove almost all the hassle entirely. The regulator has said it wants to introduce a new ‘one touch’ process which should make switching broadband quicker and simpler than ever before.

Under this new method, you’d only need to contact your new provider with your details, and they will come back to you with all of the relevant information for your switch (including if it affects any bundled services you have or if you need to pay any contract termination fees).

Ofcom’s new rules should cut out almost all of the work on your end, and calm any worries you may have about switching away from your current provider. Switching broadband has never been so easy.

Will switching from my current broadband contract be easier?

The new rule would apply to broadband providers who use different networks as well as ones that offer different types of broadband. So if you’re looking to switch away from your current provider to one that offers much faster broadband, there’s a chance you’d have to be moved onto another network or type of connection. Here are some examples of what that might look like.

Switching between networks:

  • From BT superfast fibre, which is on the Openreach superfast network, to Virgin Media, which runs its own cable broadband service
  • From Virgin Media to Hyperoptic, which has its own full fibre network

Switching between types of broadband:

  • From BT superfast fibre to BT ultrafast fibre, which is a full fibre connection on the Openreach network
  • From Vodafone superfast broadband to Vodafone Gigafast broadband, which uses CityFibre’s full fibre network

What’s the difference between superfast fibre and full fibre?

If you’re not sure which of the above types of broadband you have, here’s a rough comparison between the two. Run a broadband speed test while you’re connected to your home Wi-Fi and compare the speeds you get with the different types of connection available to your home.

  • Superfast fibre | Openreach | 30-70Mbps: Fibre connection from your provider’s broadband exchange to your local street cabinet, then standard copper phone lines from there to your home.
  • Full fibre | Openreach, Hyperoptic, CityFibre, Gigaclear | Up to 1.5Gbps: Fibre connection all the way from your provider’s broadband exchange to your property.

What does this mean for the future?

On how seamless broadband switching will benefit customers in the future, Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at Uswitch, said:

“Ofcom’s proposals to simplify the switching process for those changing broadband networks are vital to build consumer confidence.

“Switching broadband can feel like a complicated process and can put some consumers off searching for a better deal, potentially costing them £90 a year* as they sit out of contract with their existing provider.

“Ofcom is proposing the right solution - one that makes a real effort to futureproof the broadband switching system. It’s vital that the telecoms industry gets behind this bid to implement the proposed one-touch process by the end of 2022, to give consumers much-needed peace of mind when it comes to switching their broadband.

“Making things easier for consumers will become especially important in the future as more homes get access to gigabit-capable connections, from a wider range of infrastructure providers, so consumers can move to next generation services with minimal fuss.”

If your contract is coming to an end, or you haven’t switched broadband for a couple of years, you’ll likely be able to find a better broadband deal for less. Compare broadband deals with Uswitch to find an offer that’s right for you and your household.

*Uswitch: Five million households paying £805 million more than they should for broadband due to low confidence in switching

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