Ofcom says a ‘one touch’ system for switching broadband provider would be ‘quicker, simpler, and more reliable’ for customers

Back in 2015, Ofcom changed the rules for customers on Openreach’s copper network, allowing them to switch between available broadband providers (such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk) simply by contacting the new provider, who handles the transition with the existing supplier. 

Since then, however, little has changed when it comes to the difficulties posed by switching broadband providers on other networks. Ofcom moved to rectify this in October 2020, announcing its new rules that would require the customer’s new broadband provider to manage any requested switch. This ruling follows research from Ofcom that showed that around 40% of people that decided against switching their provider do so because of the hassle associated with coordinating the switch.

Now, after a number of options presented by the industry to help implement these new rules, Ofcom is suggesting a ‘one touch’ system for both fixed line and broadband customers. This would require customers to provide their details to the provider they wish to switch to, who would then coordinate the transfer with the existing broadband provider. The existing operator would then send the customer the relevant details about the switch, simply asking them if they are sure they wish to proceed.

This is very similar to those introduced by Ofcom in 2019 for mobile operators, which are now obligated to allow customers to switch simply by sending a text message.

The consultation period for the proposals will continue until the 31st of March 2021, with a final decision being aimed for this summer. The new switching process would likely not be enforced until 2022, however, due to the move necessitating changes to the operators’ internal systems.

Meanwhile, Ofcom has today revoked the licence of China Global Television Network, meaning the state-broadcaster can no longer be broadcast in the UK. The licence holder, Star China Media Ltd, did not exercise editorial control over the English language arm of China Central Television (CCTV), ergo failing to meet the legal requirements to hold the licence. Attempts to transfer the licence have also been blocked by Ofcom, since CCTV’s association with the Chinese Communist Party further disqualifies it from being broadcast in the UK.


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