ISPs still “dragging feet” with broadband switching

Most broadband customers are still tripped up by migration code woes when they try to switch to a new provider, according to research.

ISPs still

Migration Authorisation Codes (MAC) were created by Ofcom to help consumers switch from one broadband provider to another. At the moment, customers must request the MAC from their current provider and then hand it to their new ISP to get connected.

The survey by broadbandchoices.co.uk showed that of the broadband customers needing a MAC to switch to a different provider, 31% had to request the code more than once.

Some 64% had to wait a week to receive it, with fewer than a fifth given the code immediately upon asking.

We urge Ofcom to push for a consensus as quickly as possible

The delays mean 59% of broadband switchers were left without a connection while they moved to a new provider.

Michael Phillips, product director at broadbandchoices.co.uk, said broadband switching needed to be more like the energy market. “The new energy provider takes care of everything for you,” he said. “If people had to put up without energy for weeks or more, nobody would ever switch energy provider.”

Like that sector, he said the broadband migration process should be in the hands of the winning provider, not the one losing the customer, as it’s too easy for them to “drag their feet”.

Ofcom is currently considering switching to such a system, which it calls a Gaining Provider Led (GPL) process, but a series of consultations with ISPs and others in the industry mean it probably won’t happen until the end of next year.

“We would like to see it much sooner than it’s likely to come into play,” Phillips said. “At the moment, our concern is that it’s taking too long.

“We urge Ofcom to push for a consensus as quickly as possible,” Phillips said, admitting that it wouldn’t be easy to get ISPs to agree on the system and to sort out the technical side across different networks. “ISPs stand to gain from it, but they could also lose customers along the way.”

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