UK Regulator seeks to simplify broadband, telephone switching

Ofcom, the broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory authority in the UK, on Thursday proposed a set of measures to make changing broadband and landline providers simpler, while protecting consumers from being switched without their knowledge or consent.



Ofcom, the broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory authority in the UK, on Thursday proposed a set of measures to make changing broadband and landline providers simpler, while protecting consumers from being switched without their knowledge or consent.


Ofcom (London) analysis shows 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 twelve month period.


Additionally, an estimated 520,000 households had their landline or broadband services ‘slammed’ (switched without their consent) in the last year.


In response, Ofcom has proposed a number of options to help consumers change supplier.  The regulatory authority’s preferred option is a process where the new provider would 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.


Ofcom’s proposals aim to protect consumers by ensuring switches are checked by an independent party, simplifying the overall process, ensuring that all providers can still compete and making sure the switching process is easy for consumers.


 “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,” says Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards.