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Ofcom Talks Migration Improvements
By: MarkJ - 13 April, 2006 (12:37 PM)

Ofcom has issued a news update stating that the regulator has "begun work to assess the effectiveness of industry-wide processes which enable consumers to sign up to, and switch between, broadband providers.". But weren't they already supposed to be doing that?:

Current migration systems - using established industry procedures - have evolved to meet the needs of a relatively young market. However, as competition - and switching - grows, it is important to ensure that transfer processes are sufficiently robust to support the increased complexity and mass-market scale associated with next-generation broadband access, particularly over unbundled local loops. Ofcom will therefore seek to build on work already underway to assess current migration processes, and will consider whether those existing systems are sufficient to meet the future needs of consumers and industry.

In doing this, Ofcom will work with internet service providers and Openreach (the separate business unit set up by BT Group plc to ensure all providers benefit from equal access to critical network infrastructure) to examine how customer accounts and connections are currently acquired, terminated and handed over to a competing provider. Ofcom will also begin an enquiry into BT Wholesale's management of underlying line ownership and transfer systems.

Migration systems, especially those between BT and LLU based broadband ISP's, certainly have not "evolved to meet the needs" of the market, far from it.

The present system is not compulsory and allows ISPís to get away with unfair customer retention tactics (holding onto MACís etc.), often involving added costs and lengthy delays for those desiring to escape their ISP.

Thankfully the regulator did begin a consultation process during February, which is due to end on 28th April this month. Perhaps the above news is a precursor to this, although consumers will expect real improvements and a greater focus on the needs of individuals, not just bulk movements.

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