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BT Resists Ofcom’s Mandatory ADSL Migration Plans

Posted: 02nd Nov, 2006 By: MarkJ
ADSLGuide has spotted an interesting piece at 'The Times', which highlights BT's position on Ofcom's proposals to "improve" the ease at which broadband ADSL users can move between providers (migration).

Despite the title, BT is actually backing a move towards a mandatory migration policy, but only because one of the other alternatives (making the wholesaler responsible for it instead) would cost them money:

At present, broadband retailers supply MACs to users under a voluntary scheme, giving Ofcom limited scope to punish providers when they do not comply. While that arrangement is wholly backed by BT, Ofcom also mooted the idea that wholesale providers of broadband — such as BT — or another third party could provide the code to consumers.

In its response to Ofcom, BT says that while it is aware of the “frustration” of customers who cannot obtain a MAC code when they want to switch supplier, it should not be the role of a wholesale broadband provider to supply it to the end-user, with whom they have no relationship. The wholesale provider, it says, would not be able to verify the identity of the end-user or determine whether the MAC had already been requested from the retail provider and refused — and if there had been a legitimate reason for doing so.

The consumer, it says, could be left more vulnerable, as the measure could lead to an increase in mis-selling. It is also likely, BT argues, that the costs and processes required for such a scheme would prove to be prohibitive. It advises Ofcom that the move to make the current MAC process compulsory should be put in place, then reviewed after six months to see if further action is needed.

Whatever the outcome, we can only hope that the current method is improved, with consumers given more rights and ISP’s no longer able to unfairly enforce continued custom or trap users when things go wrong.
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