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Ofcom's Mandatory Migration Policy!
By: MarkJ - 17 August, 2006 (12:42 PM)

Ofcom has today issued new proposals with a view to making it a mandatory process for all UK broadband ADSL ISP's to supply customers with MACs (Migration Authorisation Code) on request and to comply with the specific process for doing so:

In April 2006 Ofcom announced that it would examine the effectiveness of existing processes which enable consumers to sign up to, and switch between, broadband providers. It found that in the majority of cases these processes are effective and ensure that customers do not experience problems. However, where problems do arise they tend to be serious and disruptive to customers.

Ofcom has received complaints from consumers who have found it difficult to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from their current supplier. A MAC is required to switch broadband providers; without a MAC, consumers find it more difficult to change provider and may find themselves without a broadband service while the transfer goes through.

The MAC process is part of a voluntary industry initiative. This means that providers who make it difficult for their customers to obtain a MAC are unlikely to be in breach of any formal obligations, limiting Ofcom’s ability to take action to protect consumers.

Ofcom therefore proposes to introduce new regulations that will apply to all providers of telecommunications services, which will make it mandatory for broadband service providers to supply customers with MACs on request and to comply with a specific process for doing so.

Ofcom will also work with industry to develop a process for customers to obtain a MAC from another source if their own broadband provider is unable or unwilling to comply.

Ofcom has also received complaints from consumers who have tried to order a new broadband service – for example, when moving home – only to be told that they are unable to do so because there is already a broadband connection on that line.

Ofcom will work with broadband suppliers to resolve the technical and organisational issues which currently prevent some users from switching providers or signing up to broadband services.

The deadline for responses to Ofcom’s proposals is 5 October 2006.

This is excellent news for anybody that's ever suffered a delay or service disruption due to the underhand methods some ADSL ISP's employ when customers attempt to leave their fold.

However many may argue, ourselves included, that it has taken Ofcom far too long to reach this conclusion. We dare not think about the number of people that have suffered as a result of the existing and rather lax policy.

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