Providers set to miss Ofcom deadline on broadband switching process 


  • The ‘One Touch Switch’ process aims to streamline the broadband switching process and make providers do more to help customers move over
  • This new system was due to start next month, but one leading provider has revealed it would be ‘impossible for the industry to be ready’ in time
  • Ofcom has previously expressed fears that the April 3 deadline would not be met 

A system designed to make it easier for broadband customers to switch suppliers seamlessly is set to miss the April 3rd start date set by industry regulator Ofcom. ‘One Touch Switch’ will allow all home broadband customers to move to a new provider without needing to contact their old one when it launches.

The system will take a lot of the hassle out of switching and mean even moves between physically separate networks, like Openreach to Virgin Media, could be completed in as little as a day. It would also give broadband users greater freedom to swoop on new deals.

At present, providers using the Openreach network are unlikely to be motivated to make it easier to switch, as they already have a system in place allowing easy movement between other providers using the network.

One anonymous broadband provider commented: “The industry is delivering this via TOTSCo (The One Touch Switching Company), which is currently in the process of procuring a ‘hub’ solution on behalf of all providers. As I understand it, this has not happened yet.”

“Once a solution has been procured and built which plugs into providers’ systems and facilitates One Touch Switch, providers will need to run an extensive testing and implementation period.”

Comments Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie:

 “Broadband providers have had 18 months to prepare for these changes, but it seems as though there could have been a breakdown in communication about how the new processes are delivered. 

“Unfortunately, some blame has to be laid at Ofcom’s door, as well as The One Touch Switching Company, which was established to help with the transition. Providers have been left in the dark and given little direction.

“While it seems to be finally taking mid-contract price rises seriously, the regulator is failing consumers by not ironing out overly complicated switching processes.

“In addition, we have been given no indication how customer data will be handled in the switching process, raising concerns about the potential risk of scams. People could also fall victim to ‘slamming’, when a service is transferred to a new phone company without you being contacted or giving consent. Consumers need to be protected from the potential for misselling during the new switching process.”

Chris Price
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