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Ofcom Opens UK Consultation to Improve Broadband ISP and Phone Switching

Posted: 10th Sep, 2010 By: MarkJ
ofcom ukRegulator Ofcom UK has confirmed plans to simplify the migration process between providers after its own research found that nearly half of consumers (45%) with a fixed line broadband ISP or phone provider felt that changing supplier would simply be too much trouble.

Ofcom noted that 39% of customers whom had switched broadband provider using the Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) process, which doesn't work for all ISPs (e.g. fully unbundled providers), felt it was too much hassle.
Broadband Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) Explained
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/new/complain/common_isp_complaints_migration.php#1
The research also shows that, of the consumers who have switched landline or broadband provider using the Notification of Transfer process (used by most landlines and some bundles of landline and broadband), just 22% thought it was too much hassle.

We have repeatedly called for Ofcom to address some of the remaining problems with broadband and phone migration, not least when migrating between fully unbundled LLU providers, which can sometimes result in downtime and significant additional costs.

In addition, the new generation of "super-fast" broadband services need to consider migration too. For example, customers whom adopt a fibre optic connection should be given a rout back to alternative platforms and must not feel trapped by risks of high costs and downtime. In some cases this could be difficult to achieve, but not impossible.

Thankfully Ofcom has finally agreed and today launched a new consultation of the issue, which will run until 19th November 2010. The regulator has proposed a process in which the customers new ISP would take the lead on switching the service (Gaining Provider Led (GPL)), albeit with new safeguards to protect "slamming" (fraud), where somebody is switched without consent.

The regulator correctly claims that improving migration could also lead to greater competition between providers and lower prices, since customers would no longer be fearful of the process. This is a good move, at least it will be if Ofcom can solve some of the technical as well as process hurdles involved.
Ofcom Migration Review
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching/
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