UK media regulator Ofcom has introduced a new service to make it easier for customers to switch broadband providers to get a better deal.
Ofcom is hoping the new process, One Touch Switch, will encourage people to seek better deals after research found more than two-fifths of people were turned off from switching broadband providers due to the hassle.
People can already switch between providers that use Openreach’s broadband network – such as BT, Sky, and TalkTalk – through a process that requires a customer to contact only their new provider.
However, until now, customers looking to switch networks or technologies – such as between Virgin Media’s network and a provider on Openreach or other smaller networks such as Hyperoptic or CityFibre – had to deal simultaneously with the new and the old supplier.
An Ofcom study found that a quarter of customers making such a switch face attempts by their provider to shut them down. The One Touch Switch process aims to eliminate these issues, including customers needing to sort the end and start dates of their old and new services.
“Household finances are strained right now, so changing your broadband service provider could help lower your bills,” said Lindsey Fussell, Group Director of Network and Communications at Ofcom. “We make it as easy as possible for you to break away from your broadband service provider and take advantage of the offers on offer. “
Ofcom said the new rules would also mean that providers will have to compensate customers if they are found without internet for more than one business day during a change. All vendors are expected to introduce Ofcom’s new streamlined switching process by April 2023.
The regulator has introduced a series of measures in recent years to ensure that customers have access to the best deals. This includes cracking down on the so-called “loyalty penalty” whereby customers who stay with their broadband, mobile or pay-TV provider do not benefit from the same discount offers as new customers.