Feeds

Ofcom: Make it easier for punters to switch ISPs

But could middleman plan jack up prices?

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Broadband and landline customers could soon find it a lot simpler to ditch one telco in favour of another, after Ofcom published its proposals on cutting the hassle out of switching providers for punters in the UK.

The communications watchdog said today that research showed that 520,000 households in Blighty in the past year had their landline or broadband services switched over without consent – a move known in the industry as "slamming".

It added that around 130,000 residential homes had problems with the wrong telephone number during the switching process or when moving house.

"Ofcom’s preferred option is a process where the new provider would manage the switching process, including the transfer of services from the old provider," the regulator said.

"To guard against slamming, the switch would be checked and verified by an independent third party."

The trend among telcos to bundle their services together has further complicated the switching process for consumers, Ofcom noted.

The watchdog found that 23 per cent of customers who switched a bundled service during the past 12 months found the whole process to be cumbersome.

“Smooth switching processes are essential to ensure that consumers can change providers with confidence. Many people think that the current systems are too difficult and unreliable which is why we have made it one of our priorities to tackle this problem," said Ofcom boss Ed Richards.

“Ofcom has improved consumer information on broadband speeds and enhanced competition in the market but it is also essential that people are able to switch easily to exercise their choice.

"Today’s proposals are designed to make the process easier, more reliable and safe from slamming. We believe that the proposals would improve consumers’ experience of switching and ensure that they continue to benefit from competition.”

It's not clear, however, if involving a third party verifier in such a process could inadvertently lead to a hike in prices being passed on to the customer.

Ofcom's consultation ends on 23 April 2012. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Mighty Blighty broadbanders beg: Let us lay cable in BT's, er, ducts
Complain to Ofcom that telco has 'effective monopoly'
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
FCC: Gonna need y'all to cough up $1.5bn to put broadband in schools
Kids need more fiber, says Wheeler, and you'll pay for it
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.