OFCOM TO MAKE SWITCHING BROADBAND EASIER
UK telecoms industry regulator Ofcom has recently unveiled new proposals which are designed to make it easier for British customers to change their broadband provider.
Data released by Ofcom indicates that 79% of UK consumers have encountered difficulties while changing broadband networks. Notably, some consumers have been left without broadband coverage for several days while completing the switch. Industry portal USwitch reports that Ofcom has pledged to simplify the switching process via the Openreach telecoms network.
Currently, when consumers wish to switch broadband companies they must contact both their previous and future supplier. Ofcom has now said that it wants to implement a one-step process. This would make it solely the new broadband provider’s responsibility to handle the switch, so consumers only have to contact the company whose broadband services they wish to sign up to.
Providing new options
Ofcom also revealed that instead of rolling out a one-step process, it may opt improve the current procedure. In theory, the regulator would require broadband companies to create more cancellation channels, so customers do not have to contact their provider via phone to terminate their contract.
Either of these policies, the watchdog argues, could prove effective, because they will make it less likely that consumers will encounter issues such as loss of service while changing broadband suppliers. Ofcom has asked stakeholders, as well as any interested parties, to express their views on these policy proposals in a consultation, which will conclude on 21st October 2016.
Finding the best deals
Commenting, Ofcom Consumer Group Director Lindsey Fussell noted: “People should be able to switch easily to take advantage of the best deals in the market. We’ve already improved the switching experience for millions of landline and broadband customers. Now we’re consulting on making it easier and more reliable for telecoms and TV customers to switch between different networks – including when their services are bundled onto one bill.”
Right to broadband
In 2015, the BBC writes, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron argued that “access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury, it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st Century Britain.” Consumers rely on broadband to conduct everyday tasks ranging from communicating with loved ones to shopping, so it is vital that they can switch providers as seamlessly as possible.
It is especially important that the UK’s small businesses can switch providers easily, without suffering gaps in broadband coverage. Consumers expect to be able to communicate with companies online at all times. For instance, data quoted by Convince and Convert, a digital marketing agency, indicates that when consumers complain to a company on social media, they expect a response within 60 minutes. Even one day without broadband coverage could prove disastrous for UK small businesses.
If Ofcom implements these proposals, the UK’s small businesses could benefit. However, small companies should think carefully about which supplier they choose, to ensure they reap the benefits of changing providers. Kinex, a brand which operates under the Verastar umbrella, provides the bespoke business broadband services that small companies require to switch cost effectively.
Verastar is a leading provider of essential business services to micro SMEs, operating under the following brands: kinex, Clear Business Water, Titan Telecom, Marble Telecom, Economy Gas and 118777 Limited. Our business model is focused on providing a spectrum of consolidated services that disrupt traditional markets and create great savings, efficiencies and value for our customers.