Ofcom introduces ‘One Touch Switching’ for broadband customers


Broadband and landline customers should find it easier than ever to change provider and secure a better deal, under a new ‘One Touch Switch’ process announced today by Ofcom.

The change means all home broadband users – including cable and full fibre customers – will only have to contact their new company to switch, with no need to speak to their current provider before making the move.

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

But for the first time, customers switching 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 – will be covered by the simpler process.

Currently, these customers need to contact both their existing and new provider to co-ordinate the switch, which includes trying to bridge the gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.

Previous Ofcom research (PDF, 17.9 MB) showed that four in ten people (41%) who decide against switching were put off by the hassle of having to contact more than one provider. A similar number (43%) were put off switching as they think it will be too time-consuming. And of those who do switch, nearly a quarter (24%) who contact their current provider face unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.

How it works

Graphic detailing One Touch Switch process overview as described below.

  1. A customer will contact their chosen new provider and give their details.
  2. The customer then automatically receives important information from their current provider. This includes any early contract termination charges they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect other services the customer has with the company.
  3. If the customer wants to go ahead, the new provider will then manage the switch.

Under Ofcom’s new rules, providers will also have to compensate customers if things go wrong and they are left without a service for more than one working day. 

All providers must have the ‘One Touch Switch’ process in place by April 2023. This will involve making significant changes to their systems and will require a wide range of companies to work together. 

Says Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Networks and Communications Group Director: 

“Household finances are strained at the moment, so switching broadband provider could help keep your bills down.

We’re making it as easy as possible for you to break up with your broadband provider and take advantage of the deals on offer.”

Adds Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy:

“The coronavirus crisis has meant consumers are more reliant on a good broadband connection than they’ve ever been before – so it’s positive to see the regulator removing barriers that are preventing people switching providers and getting a better deal. 

“This new “one-touch switch” process must now be implemented swiftly so that consumers can reap the benefits as soon as possible. 

“Consumers also shouldn’t delay looking for a new deal – anyone unhappy with their current provider could potentially save up to £143 a year and get improved service by switching.” 


Chris Price
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