Ofcom eases path for broadband switching

Ofcom has proposed new rules designed to make it easier for broadband users to switch ISP.

Ofcom eases path for broadband switching

An investigation that began in April found that while in the majority of cases the existing processes are effective, where problems do arise they tend to be serious and disruptive to customers.

Ofcom has received complaints from broadband users who have found it difficult to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from their current service provider. A MAC is required to switch broadband providers; without a MAC, consumers find it more difficult to change provider and may find themselves without a broadband service while the transfer goes through.

Currently the process is voluntary; ISPs are not obliged to provide a MAC, which limits Ofcom’s ability to take any action against recalcitrant operators. It has therefore proposed new regulations that will make it mandatory for broadband providers to supply customers with MACs on request and to comply with a specific process for doing so.

Ofcom also plans to work with the telecoms industry to develop a process for obtaining a MAC from another source if their own ISP is unable or unwilling to comply. It will also work to resolve technical and organisational issues that currently prevent some users from switching providers or signing up to broadband services. This follows complaints from consumers who have tried to order a new broadband service, when moving home for example, only to be told that they are unable to do so because there is already a broadband connection on that line.

The Ofcom proposals can be read at ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/migration.

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