Entanet (www.enta.net) has welcomed Ofcom's announcement of the new conditions which require Broadband Service Providers to issue MAC codes to users without charge or delay to allow them to switch broadband providers whilst minimising the disruption to their Internet access. It believes that it is essential that Ofcom enforces the new rules and deals firmly with any providers who fail to comply.
The company also however raises concerns about the difference in costs of moving from a BT IPStream/DataStream based service to another and that of migrating from an LLU (Local Loop Unbundled) service. Under the current charging scheme imposed by BT, moving from an LLU service to an IPStream would would incur an activation charge of £40 rather than the £11 charge for migrations between IPStream suppliers for example. Entanet is concerned that this difference in fees could deter users from switching from an LLU based service to a BT IPStream service, in particular as it absorbs the £11 fee but cannot do this on the higher £40 fee.
"A key part of Ofcom's remit is to enable consumer choice. The very fact that migrating from an LLU provider will incur a new activation fee doesn't do much to support that aim. This may well have been something that was unforeseen when the rules around local loop unbundling were drawn up, but whatever the reasons for the current situation, it needs to be put right. We can take some encouragement from the changes Ofcom has made with regard to broadband migrations this week and we hope the regulator acts soon to urgently review the situation with regard to LLU as well."Carol Davies
This is a particular problem where customers have been moved from IPStream based services to LLU without their knowledge, something several providers are in the process of doing. This means the customer has no advance knowledge or control over the cost of moving to another ISP.
Ofcom indicated in its report that it will continue working with the industry to try and deal with the remaining issues not addressed by the current policy, something we hope won't be too long away.