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Broadband ISP Migrations Make Ofcoms Top Six Consumer Complaints

Posted: 25th Mar, 2009 By: MarkJ
Industry regulator Ofcom has released a new chart showing the complaint trends of the top six most complained about issues over the last 12 months. Sadly broadband migration problems take up two of the places for different reasons, though they have been decreasing in frequency since last spring.

Top 2008 to 2009 Ofcom Consumer Complaints Chart

Broadband Migrations – Tag on line
Tag on Line is an issue that can occur for consumers who are buying broadband for the first time or have just moved into a new property. Consumers may be advised by their provider that there is a ‘tag on the line’ and that it will need to be removed before their order can be progressed.

Tags can occur for a variety of reasons and, in the majority of cases, the new provider is best placed to investigate and fix the underlying cause of the Tag, on the consumer’s behalf and, if necessary, liaise directly with BT to have the Tag removed.

Broadband Migrations – problems around Migration Authorisation Codes (MACs)
A MAC enables a consumer to switch from one broadband provider to another with minimal disruption to the broadband service. The code consists of four letters always beginning with L followed by between seven and nine numbers, a slash, and five alphanumeric characters (e.g. LAEM1234567/1F6HT).

A MAC should be given to a consumer by their current provider within five working days of a request. A MAC may not be required where consumers are being supplied with broadband in conjunction with their telephone service over a fully unbundled loop or via Virgin Media’s cable network.

Typically all UK ISPs must adhere to Ofcom's General Condition 22 (GC22), which requires them to supply customers with a MAC without charge and within five working days of being requested. Sadly not all ISPs have done a good job of keeping to these rules (Pipex, Prodigy Internet etc.), causing frustration and stress for consumers trapped in the middle.

Unfortunately the migration process between different types of unbundled broadband providers remains somewhat of a mixed bag. It’s usually possible to migrate back to a BT based ISP using a MAC, though moving between unbundled (LLU) providers may often entail a period downtime.
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