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Independent Providers welcome new switching rules

Easier switching between broadband providers took a big step forward today as the regulator Ofcom published their statement in favour of “One Touch Switching” and the countdown to December 2022 for providers to become compliant with the new legislation.

The Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy (Amendment) (European Electronic Communications Code and EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make the broadband supplier being switched to responsible for leading the process and for ensuring there is a seamless experience for the end user: so-called “Gaining Provider Led Switching”. The new rules apply whether broadband consumers wish to switch between networks or between providers on the same network and make the providers responsible for compensating the customer if there is any loss of service during the switching process.

“INCA has played an important and active role on behalf of the independent sector throughout the consultation process with OTA2 and Ofcom and will continue to do so as Ofcom consults on their preferred option of “One Touch Switch” to issue a final decision in Q2 this year. INCA Chief Executive Mr Corbett said. “Broadband providers now have less than 2 years to implement new, compliant switching processes. We would urge all members to ensure their views are represented during this vital period”. 

Last year, the Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator (OTA) worked with the industry to gain a consensus and reported 2 Options to Ofcom: Option X (“Code to Switch”) and Option Y (“One Touch Switch”). INCA was part of the Option Y Group together with the vast majority of independent altnets. Today, Ofcom has said that One Touch Switch is its preferred approach.

“We are pleased to see that customers are going to benefit from a truly gaining provider led switching system being introduced”, Mr Corbett continued. “Independent operators generally support the One Touch Switch option favoured by Ofcom believing that it will reduce friction in the process of attracting customers to new networks. The altnets are investing more than £8bn building new future-proofed digital infrastructure, thus rapidly increasing the number of households connected to gigabit-capable broadband across the UK. Persuading customers and service providers to switch to the new networks – and making it as easy as possible to do so - is a vital part of the overall picture”.

INCA’s switching and wholesale special interest group (SWSIG) is keen to hear views from across the sector as it helps members put the required processes for One Touch Switch in place and liaises with the rest of the industry.