Alex welcomes efforts to ease broadband switching

Recent changes designed to ease the process of switching broadband and landline deals for millions of customers have been welcomed by Alex Cunningham, who hopes that rapid progress can now be made in the rollout of superfast broadband to rural areas of Stockton North to allow all residents to benefit and get the best deals on the services they require.

Consumers wishing to switch providers had, until the changes were introduced, potentially been required to navigate a number of different switching processes depending on which suppliers they were moving between and the type of service being switched.  And Ofcom research found that, in cases where the consumer had to contact their existing provider to request a change, the process was often significantly more difficult for consumers to follow.

However, earlier this month, the process of switching between providers using the Openreach telecoms network – including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk – was simplified with the introduction of a ‘one-touch’ process that places the responsibility for the broadband or landline switch entirely in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving.

Under the new system, consumers no longer need to cancel their existing contract with the current provider, with the entire switching process now being handled entirely by their new supplier on their behalf.  Furthermore, once the switching process is under way, consumers will receive written confirmation from both the old and new provider, while also retaining the right to cancel the switch.

Alex said:

“Recent changes to the switching process for broadband and landline services, easing the procedure for consumers and lightening their administrative burden, are to be welcomed.  Any effort to incentivise customers to check that they are receiving the best deal and enable simpler switching should be embraced and I hope that residents across the borough will make full use of the new standards.

“However, current projections estimate that five per cent of households will remain isolated from the superfast network by 2017 – a point I raised with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in the House of Commons last week.  It is therefore crucial that swift progress is also made on the delivery of superfast broadband in hard-to-reach areas, ensuring that rural communities are able to access twenty-first century services and the benefits they bring.

“I look forward to meeting with the relevant Minister in the near future to discuss the hurdles facing rural communities in accessing these services, and hope meaningful headway can be made towards providing these services and allowing communities across the Stockton borough to utilise new switching rules.”