The scheme means customers just have to contact their new provider, and the swap process will happen automatically, but you’ll have to wait until 2023 for the changes to come in
Households will be able to get better broadband deals faster from 2023 thanks to an incoming service from media regulator Ofcom.
The deal, One Touch Switch, is meant to crack the problem of two-fifths of people not switching their internet deal due to the hassle.
The normal system of switching broadband requires customers to contact their old and new internet company at the same time.
Ofcom found their existing internet provider often made it difficult to switch. Also, customers had to line up the end date for one and the start date for another or face losing internet, making it much easier just to stay put – often paying above the odds.
The regulator said 41% who don’t swap provider say it’s too much effort. Around 43% say it takes too much time, while 24% face “unwanted attempts” from their old provider to get them to stay.
Is your internet provider making it hard to switch? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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How it works
One Touch Switch means customers only have to contact the new internet firm, who will handle the entire switch.
Customers can do this over the phone, in a shop or online.
They have to provide their:
- Address and postcode
- Old internet provider
- Contact details
The old provider then automatically gives any vital switching information, like fees for ending a contract early.
It will work a bit like the Current Account Switching Service for current account customers – where users ask their new bank to handle the entire switch.
The new rules also mean suppliers have to repay customers if they are left without internet for more than one working day during the switch.
The old provider will have to keep supplying internet on existing terms until the new provider starts supplying it.
The losing internet provider then has to end the contract once the switch is over.
All internet firms have to sign up to the new process by April 2023, though some may do it sooner.
Customers will also never end up paying for two lots of internet at the same time, which is a problem currently.
That’s because Ofcom has banned ‘notice period changes’ as part of the new scheme.
The scheme will cost broadband users around 3p a month, Ofcom said, though internet providers may choose to swallow the cost rather than pass it on.
However, this cost should be tiny compared to the overall saving of being able to easily swap broadband firm, the regulator said.
Ofcom network 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.”
The new scheme could mean customers could switch internet in just one day, according to Richard Neudegg, head of regulation at comparison firm Uswitch.com.
Neudegg said: “This is another important stepping stone in helping the country upgrade to full fibre.
“Switching broadband can feel like a complicated process and can put some consumers off searching for a better deal, potentially costing them £90 a year as they sit out of contract with their existing provider.”