Easier broadband switching for Virgin Media customers and others delayed – here's what you need to know
Broadband customers switching to or from cable networks including Virgin Media, Hyperoptic and others will still have to contact both their new and existing provider when moving across, as plans to introduce easier 'one touch' switching from April 2023 have been delayed.
Update: 14 August 2023: The One Touch Switching Company – the industry body in charge of implementing the new 'one touch' switching process – has announced that it's working to enable the system to be up and running by 14 March 2024. It says this date "strikes the right balance" between the need to act quickly and the effort and prioritisation needed to make the system work.
A spokesperson for regulator Ofcom said: "Industry must now hit the new target it has set itself without fail, and we will continue to hold them to account to make sure this happens."
For info and tips on switching your broadband in the meantime, see our Cheap broadband guide.
The 'one touch switch' system, which was first announced in 2021, was supposed to be in place by April 2023 to make changing your broadband provider quicker, easier and more reliable.
But broadband firms have failed to implement the new process in time for the deadline, industry regulator Ofcom confirmed today. As a result, Ofcom has launched an industry-wide enforcement programme to make sure companies get the new process in place "as quickly as possible".
The delay means that if you're switching between different broadband networks – for example from fibre optic to copper (say, Virgin Media to Sky) or between two different cable providers (say, Hyperoptic to Virgin) – you'll still need to contact both your existing and new providers for now.
Check out our Cheap broadband guide for more on how to save money and switch.
'It's extremely disappointing and frustrating'
Confirming the delay, Ofcom's director of telecoms consumer protection Cristina Luna-Esteban said: "Industry has had plenty of warning, plenty of time and plenty of support to get this done. It's extremely disappointing and frustrating, and providers have let their customers down.
"We take compliance with our rules very seriously, and have launched enforcement action to make sure companies get this up and running as quickly as possible."
Here's how 'one touch switching' will work when it's finally implemented
- Once the changes take force, you'll only need to contact your new provider, no matter who your current provider is. Once you've done this, you'll then receive all the important information you need automatically from your current provider, such as your final bill. Your new provider will then manage the switch.
- The process may take longer if you're switching from a non-copper to a copper network or vice versa. If you want to switch from a cable, non-copper network (such as Virgin Media) to a copper network (such as Openreach, which is used by BT and Sky), then your property will need to have a physical connection to that network, just like you do now.
If you already have a connection, for example if you used to be with Virgin Media, switched to Openreach and then switched back again, moving can take as little as one day. However, if you don't have a connection and a visit from an engineer is required, it could take longer.
- You will probably need a new router. As is usually the case now, if you're switching provider you'll probably need a new router, unless you bought your own and/or your current router can be used with your new provider. Just ask your new provider what the best option is.