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Dear BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media...

Your industry price rises have already cost consumers up to an estimated £427 million more* on their broadband bills since 2023 and they are about to go up again.

Customers need simpler switching between different networks - and as industry leaders, this is on you.

Our open letter to the big broadband providers regarding One Touch Switch.

Uswitch logo

Uswitch, The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row,

London SE1 2LH

14 March 2024

Open letter to BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media

At Uswitch, we are deeply concerned for broadband customers who are bearing the brunt of increasing prices without an easy option for cross-network broadband switching. 

A simpler switching process would be delivered by One Touch Switch - and today should have been the day this process launched. But this is now the second target date that has been missed, and a third new target date of 12 September has just been announced. 

Consumers have already been waiting too long for One Touch Switch, with the deadline by Ofcom originally set for April 2023. 

The timing of the missed deadlines - just before industry price rises - adds deeper urgency to the issue. By our estimates, industry price rises have already cost consumers an extra £427 million on their broadband bills since 2023 and they are about to go up again.

Switching has always been a key piece of advice to those facing price rises, and our own data shows that broadband customers can save as much as £179 if they switch. But a process that unlocks access to more competitive deals from alternative providers, and encourages consumers to take advantage of all the options available to them, is long overdue. 

Without improved cross-network switching, you are making it harder for customers to consider their choices. This limits genuine competition in the market, where great value and customer service is rewarded. 

The importance of sticking to a target date cannot be overstated. We believe, as industry leaders, your engagement and collaboration on this matter is what will make the difference. 

We urge you to do the right thing; make sure One Touch Switch goes live without any further delays. 

Yours sincerely,

Angus McCarey, CEO, Uswitch

Uswitch Limited, registered in England and Wales under company number 03612689.

Registered address: The Cooperage, 5 Copper Row, London, SE1 2LH

*Based on price rises since April 2023 for 11 million broadband customers (Ofcom’s Consultation: Prohibiting inflation-linked price rises, 2023). See for more information.

What is One Touch Switch?

One Touch Switch is meant to be the answer to simpler switching between broadband providers.

Once it is rolled out, broadband customers won't ever need to tell their current provider that they are moving to a new one. All you'd need to do is sign up to your new provider, and they will cancel your current contract for you.

This is already the case for millions of people who stick with brands using the Openreach broadband network. But this ruling would mean this also works for providers with different networks, like Virgin Media, or full fibre providers like Hyperoptic and Gigaclear.

How does switching broadband work currently?

For many people, switching providers is already very easy. Many brands use the same nationwide Openreach broadband network, which means you can swap between them without your actual home connection needing to be changed or installed.

So if you've only ever switched between providers like BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone, Plusnet and NOW Broadband, you don't need to contact your old provider because they all operate on the same network.

However, it's currently a little more complicated when your switch involves different broadband networks.

For example, Virgin Media runs its own network that uses completely different infrastructure to Openreach. So if you wanted to switch from an Openreach provider to Virgin, you'd have to reach out to both to make sure the switch takes place.

This is also the case if you want to switch to a full fibre-only network, like the ones owned by alternative providers Hyperoptic, Gigaclear or CityFibre. If you're moving from Openreach's slower part-fibre network to this faster one, both brands need to be informed.

One Touch Switch will finally put an end to that. It'll mean switching will only ever involve signing up to your new provider - regardless of which network it uses.

Why has Uswitch published an open letter to providers?

With two missed deadlines, broadband customers have already been disappointed twice while waiting for One Touch Switch. 

We’re calling for an end to the delays with our open letter - urging the biggest broadband providers, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, to stick to the new date and make sure there are no further delays.

Can I still switch my broadband provider?

Yes. Millions of people switch their broadband each year, and your options are only growing. Faster, more reliable full fibre is now available to more than half of UK homes, and providers are always putting on great offers to new customers.

And even if switching between networks involves a little bit more admin, it's almost always worth it to get a broadband deal that's cheaper, faster or both.

Our best broadband deals

Search on Uswitch to find the right broadband package for you.

Written by: Max Beckett

Published: 14th March 2024