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Ofcom to Reveal New Broadband Migration System for UK ISPs

Posted: 07th Feb, 2012 By: MarkJ
ofcom uk average broadband ISP speeds March 2011The communications regulator, Ofcom, is about to reveal precisely how it intends to make migration between communication providers (i.e. broadband ISPs and telephone operators) "quicker, cheaper and easier for consumers". The new process, which should surface before the end of next week (i.e. "during early Feb 2012"), is due to be presented as part of the regulators somewhat delayed Strategic Review into Consumer Switching.

At present most broadband consumers can switch ISP by using the Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) process. Sadly this doesn't work for all ISPs (e.g. fully unbundled, cable and superfast fibre optic lines) and customers can still end up being trapped if their provider suddenly becomes unresponsive.
What are Broadband Migration Authorisation Codes?
https://www.ispreview.co.uk/new/complain/common_isp_complaints_migration.php#1
Ofcom's first consultation, which discovered that 39% of customers whom had switched ISPs using the MAC process felt that it was too much hassle, ended on 26th November 2010 (here). Since then the regulator has been held up by a significant number of complex issues that needed to be resolved, not to mention a few disagreements between ISPs.

ISPreview.co.uk understands that Ofcom is to publish a 2nd Consultation document before mid-February 2012, which will outline their chosen process option. The regulator is known to prefer a Gaining Provider Led (GPL) solution. Unlike the MAC system, GPL gives the customers NEW ISP all the power to manage their migration.

The new system would mark a significant change in how people switch ISP and could indeed make it a lot simpler. At the same time a GPL solution would also be easier to abuse. As a result Ofcom has sought to develop safeguards to protect against slamming (i.e. when a consumer is switched without consent).

Ofcom could resolve this problem by using either 3rd party validation and an account reference model or some form of new Unique Service Number (USN). We'll find out what they've picked soon enough.
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