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Industry watchdog probes broadband switching delays

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

The regulator Ofcom has opened an industry-wide action over the failed implementation of a new broadband switching process.

Ofcom accused the industry of missing the deadline for the ‘One Touch Switch’ service for residential customers.

Ofcom announced these rules a year and a half ago to make broadband switching quicker, easier and more reliable for many customers. Under the rules, customers only have to contact their new company to switch rather than having to contact their new and existing providers to coordinate the switch.

One Touch Switch

People can already switch between providers on Openreach’s network – such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk – by following a process where their new provider manages the switch.

But Ofcom also wanted to make it easy for customers moving between different networks or technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network to one using CityFibre’s, or from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic. Under the new process, these customers would only have to contact their new provider to switch.

The rules also mean providers must compensate customers if things go wrong with the switch and they are left without a service for more than one working day.

The reforms aimed to make it quicker and would ensure customers automatically received important information from their current provider, including any early termination charges they may have to pay.

Missed deadline

But Ofcom says the new process has not been introduced on time. As a result, it has launched an industry-wide enforcement programme, following this failure to meet a regulatory deadline.

Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s director of telecoms consumer protection, said: “The industry has had plenty of warning, plenty of time and plenty of support to get this done. It’s extremely disappointing and frustrating, and providers have let their customers down.

“We take compliance with our rules very seriously, and have launched enforcement action to make sure companies get this up and running as quickly as possible.”