As with many services, such as your bank, energy or water supplier, the rigmarole, hassle and mistakes which can occur when switching are often the most common reasons people give for not wanting to switch. That is true for broadband data too, or at least it will be until April 2023 when Ofcom introduce the “One Touch Switch” (OTS) service for broadband consumers. OTS, which is currently modelled on the template available to landline phone users takes all of the bother out of the process of switching from one ISP to another, so it will certainly be welcomed by digital data users looking for a better deal.
Currently it’s necessary to deal with both your new and old internet service provider, you’ll be setting up one account and making sure there is as little overlap as you leave your old provider, while also making sure there is no service gap between leaving one and starting with the next either.
Instead the OTS system means that all you will have to do is contact the company you want to have a new contract with and they will arrange the rest.
Depending on which service you want to take up, switching can currently be very easy, provided you are moving from a like to like service with the same infrastructure. Problems arise though when you want to switch to a company which is on a different physical network from the one you’re currently on. As a broadband data provider we, and Ofcom, feel that switching should be as easy and transparent for you the consumer as possible. You don’t care about infrastructure interface, Code Powers, or Physical Infrastructure Access, you just want to get better broadband as quickly as possible. It’s our job to care about that, and then to get you the fastest broadband data as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Ofcom found that 41% of people who DIDN’T switch to a new broadband provider said it was the hassle of switching which put them off of going through the process, while 43% said that it was because the process was too time consuming. And when they did try to switch, 24% said that when they told their current provider that they wanted to leave, they were faced with unwanted pressure to stay.
Those 41% who didn’t switch to avoid the aggravation had good reason to be shy of encountering switchover as it currently stands, especially if it involved migrating from one infrastructure network to another. In such a case it would depend on the customer getting in touch with their current provider and cancelling the service, easy enough to do if you’ve already completed your minimum contract, but not so much if you’re switching because you aren’t getting the speeds you anticipated or the price isn’t what you expected.
Once you’ve arranged for your contract to end you have to ensure that your new contract starts at exactly the same time. You also need to be aware of all the other things which came with your original package and ensure that things such as VoIP phone numbers are ported over too. Naturally you want this to happen seamlessly, and of course it rarely does.
However, once the broadband OTS is in place all you need do is contact your intended supplier and let them take care of everything.
With the opening up of the industry to competition and increased consumer choice, there are many more small operators, or disruptors, available to choose from. Without Ofcom’s intervention the situation would only become more confusing and problematic.
As mentioned above, switching between companies who use the same infrastructure is relatively easy. The Gaining Provider Led process, (GPL) which means the company who is gaining the business is responsible for taking care of migration, will be used by all companies on all infrastructure, so it doesn’t matter to you what they use, if you want to switch, you just call them and they take care of the rest. Once you tell your new provider that you want to switch to them your old company should get in touch with you and outline any additional fees you may incur for leaving your contract, get the contract details that your new provider will involve, and consent to the switch. Once the switchover date arrives you stop paying your bills for the old company, and start paying the new. Ofcom have stated that any loss of service during this period shouldn’t last more than one working day, and you should expect compensation if things go wrong.
From the time that your preferred supplier gets in touch with your old one, they should keep supplying you with everything you already get without changing the charges, and they can’t charge you termination fees beyond the date of your switchover. If anything delays the process the company who you’re leaving should re-instate you phone number and any other services until the switchover is adequately completed.
There will be some changes to the way you can move your number over if you’re currently getting a landline number you use with your broadband contract too. Those changes will include the right to transfer your number for up to a month after you move, and there will be a ban on charging to take your number with you too. This should come as a great comfort to those who do use their landline a lot as the hassle of changing your phone number, along with billing and service disruption are the major worries that keeps people from migrating.
Ofcom will also be banning notice period charges beyond the switch date, which should prevent the situation where a customer is paying for two services at the same time. As well as being a huge benefit for residential customers, the changes are a great development for small independent and local providers who won’t have experience of dealing with complex regulatory measures or the complications that established broadband data providers use to keep customers from migrating.
And before you shed a tear for the big broadband data providers who will have to lose out on all those additional fees they charge when you try to switch, Ofcom have done the sums and estimate that the overall cost would be 3p per month per customer. Compared to the average monthly broadband bill, with line rental included (approximately £41 per month at time of posting), then the cost is negligible.
Additionally, the information you get when switching from your supplier if you’re a mobile user will improve too. The company you’re leaving will have to tell you about the impact of switching on your services, such as bundled calls, bundled mobile numbers, and any other services they provide as well. This is all information you might easily have forgotten was all tied up in your broadband data package, and your only reminder previously (currently) is finding what you lose when your migration is complete.
All these changes don’t come into effect for some time, so if you’re really fed up with your current provider and want to move to a new digital broadband provider before then, remember to check the following:
- How long do you have left to run on your current contract? If you’re out of contract and just rolling, no problem. If you’re still in contract but not receiving anything like what you expect from your data provider you still might be able to get out of your contract without fees.
- Do you have a landline phone number you want to take with you? Are there expenses and delays associated with taking it with you, and how long will porting it take?
- Do you get bundled mobile numbers and calls? Does the provider you’re moving to offer a similar deal?
Anyone living in Worthing, Arundel, Angmering, or anywhere in the Worthing and Adur area should check out Briant Broadband. We offer a flexible range of wireless data and ultra fast fibre broadband data offers which can be tailored to suit your individual needs. Just send us an email at email@example.com or call us on 01903 221999 to see what we can do for you