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New plans to make broadband and landline switching simpler revealed

Broadband and landline customers could benefit from new plans to make switching simpler from next year. Under the proposals from Ofcom, households would only have to contact their new provider, which would then handle the switching process.

This is already in place for customers switching between providers such as BT, Sky and TalkTalk on Openreach’s copper network. It came in following a rule change made by communications regulator Ofcom in 2015. 

But customers switching between different types of network or technology – for example, switching from Virgin Media to Hyperoptic (neither of which are on the Openreach network) – currently need to contact both their existing and new provider to co-ordinate the switch. This includes trying to make sure there is no gap between the old service ending and the new one starting.

See How to get cheap broadband to get the best deal for you.

You'll need to contact your new supplier and it'll manage the switch

Under Ofcom's plans, which have been published today, all broadband and landline customers will be able to use this so-called ‘one touch’ switching process from next year. Here's how it would work: 

  1.  A customer would contact their chosen new provider. They would then give the provider their details.
  2. The customer would then automatically receive important information from their current provider. This would include any early contract termination charges they may have to pay, and how the switch may affect other services the customer has with the company.
  3. The new provider would then manage the switch. This is if the customer is still happy to go ahead.

The rules could come into force in December 2022

Ofcom is consulting on today’s proposals until 31 March 2021 and says it aims to publish its final decision this summer.

If it gets the go-ahead, companies will need to make significant changes to their systems and processes, so the new rules won't come into force until December 2022.

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