Ofcom sets new One Touch Switch deadline

Ofcom has set a revised deadline of 12th September for the launch of a new broadband switching scheme intended to simplify the process of changing providers, even when their current and new providers use different physical networks.

Customers who swap between ISPs which use the Openreach network already use a simple switching process which makes the new supplier responsible for informing the current provider and managing the changeover.

However, the current process doesn’t apply when at least one of the providers uses a non-Openreach network.

To ensure all broadband customers enjoy the same simple switching, Ofcom had mandated that ISPs adopt an industry-wide 'One-Touch Switch' process and set an initial April 2023 deadline for its introduction.

That date was subsequently put back to 14th March 2024, however in December it was announced that this date would also be missed after a number of ISPs said they were unable to make the necessary changes to their processes in time.

Ofcom's announcement of a further revised deadline comes after BT, Sky, TalkTalk and VMO2 provided written assurances that the new date is achievable.

Alex Tofts, broadband expert at Broadband Genie, said, "While we're encouraged to see a live date pencilled in, we must temper expectations.

"The industry has had almost four years to prepare for this, and we've already seen a missed deadline back in March 2023, as well as countless delays.

"With an overly complex switching process and the growing number of fantastic offerings from smaller providers, consumers need this process to come in now. Broadband is the only utility that hasn't been streamlined.

"Our research has found broadband switches are down across the market, meaning shoppers will be £53 million worse off compared to last year. If the One Touch Switch Company and Ofcom don't deliver this system on the new live date, they will have failed customers again.

"There's no guarantee we'll still witness the One Touch Switch this year. In the meantime, broadband bill payers shouldn't be discouraged from reviewing their telecoms contract. Mid-contract price rises are coming in from next month, and it's better to switch now to lower the hit in the spring.

"Some providers such as Hyperoptic, YouFibre and Cuckoo have committed to not raising customer's prices mid-contract."

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