Ofcom has published a study carried out by Deloitte which looks into the possible ways a single migrations process could be arrived at for the various communications services in the UK including broadband, fixed line, mobile and cable services. With the rapid growth in bundles combining one or more of these services, easier migrations will be welcomed by many consumers.
The Deloitte study, while lengthy, does not set out a single path forward, but rather evaluates several different methods leading Ofcom to the stage of requesting comments on the report. Any responses from interested parties need to be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 15th February to Gavin Daykin at Ofcom.
The background is that currently the fixed line and calls part of the market is an area where slamming (switching a customers service without knowledge or consent) is perhaps too easy. The broadband MAC process is dependent on the losing provider playing ball. IPStream, DataStream and fully or shared unbundled services lead to confusion with consumers not really knowing which actual wholesale product they are on (in some cases a broadband provider will even alter a consumers wholesale product without the consumers knowledge). At the end of the day, this all leads to consumer frustration which can mean people stay with a communications provider they are unhappy with, or lose a service for weeks while the tangled web is sorted out.
Four potential mechanisms were considered in the report as a way of making migrations simpler for the consumer.
Making migrations simpler and faster between the myriad of products is welcome, though this needs to be balanced against making it too easy for a disreputable company or sales person to sign someone up for a service without their consent. We are not going to see changes to the migration market quickly. To come up with a process that the industry will adopt without having to be dragged through the courts is never going to be fast.