Ofcom proposes easier 'one touch' broadband switching by 2022

Optical fiber
(Image credit: Pixabay)

Ofcom has revealed how it plans to introduce new rules that will reduce the time and effort required to change broadband providers.

Measures introduced by the regulator in 2015 mean consumers that want to move between suppliers that both use the Openreach copper network only need to contact their new provider who will then handle the switch.  

However, under the current system, a customer must contact both their existing and future supplier if they want to switch from a provider on the Openreach network to one that uses a different type of infrastructure such as Virgin Media.

One touch broadband switching

The handover must be coordinated if there is to be no loss of service. Research conducted by Ofcom suggests consumers two fifths of people who consider switching find this process to be too complex or time consuming, undermining competition in the market.

The same rules have now been applied to cover all technologies and networks and could be introduced by December 2022 if Ofcom’s proposals for implementation are approved. Under the new ‘one touch’ system, customers would contact their new provider who will handle the switch. The existing provider would then automatically send out relevant information, such as early termination charges.

Mobile customers can already freely move between providers simply by sending a text message to their current provider.

“There are lots of different offers out there from a wide range of broadband and landline providers. And we want to make it even easier for people to get a better deal or upgrade to a faster, more reliable service,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Networks and Communications Group Director.

“We know some customers can be put off by the hassle of having to deal with more than one provider when trying to switch. So our proposals today aim to make the process as seamless as possible, for everyone.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.