Ofcom confirms One Touch Switch to come in from April 2023

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced that the One Touch Switch process will come into force in the UK, making it easier for broadband customers to switch between providers operating on separate networks. ISPs will have to comply with the rules by April 3 2023.

Currently, the process for migrating between providers on the same network is relatively straightforward, but becomes far more complicated when switching to a provider on a different network, (e.g. switching from Openreach to CityFibre).

Common problems when switching include downtime between the old connection ending and the new one being activated or temporarily paying for two services simultaneously. According to Ofcom research, 41 per cent of people who opt not to switch do so due to having to contact more than one provider. 43 per cent meanwhile think the process would be too time-consuming.

Research also found that 24 per cent of those who do switch receive unwanted sales pitches when they contact their current provider. To tackle this, the new process will be Gaining Provider Led. This is the system used when switching between providers on the same network and means customers will only need to contact the provider they are moving to in order to begin the process.

The new rules stipulate that a loss of service during switching must not exceed one working day, if possible, and that compensation will be expected in the event of longer downtime. The provider that is losing the customer must also continue to supply them on the same terms until the gaining provider activates the new connection, at which point the former contract will be automatically terminated.

Notice period charges beyond the date that customers have switched will also be banned in an attempt to prevent scenarios in which customers are forced to temporarily pay for two services at once when switching.

Ofcom Networks and Communications Group Director Lindsey Fussell said: “Household finances are strained at the moment, so switching broadband provider could help keep your bills down. We’re making it as easy as possible for you to break up with your broadband provider and take advantage of the deals on offer.”

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