The launch of a full LLU service by TalkTalk in April 2006 saw demand for the product explode in the UK, and with Sky adopting full LLU as standard from September 2011, the need for a simple way for consumers to switch their broadband and telephone service back to another provider once out of contract is some years overdue.
Ofcom launched its first consultation into a new migration process in 2010, and it appears we can expect in the next few days (if the early February 2012 deadline is to be met) a second consultation. Apparently the delay in the publication was caused by the complex issues arising from the multitude of switching options available in the market.
If it takes Ofcom 18 months from one consultation to another, then it would suggest that Ofcom has allowed processes unfit for the market to remain in place for a long time. A lot of the confusion stems from two types of LLU service existing:
Lets hope Ofcom arrives at a process that works for the consumer rather than just being the minimum the industry is prepared to do, is cheap, simple to use, and guards against over keen sales staff. Switching should focus on presenting a simple process to the consumer, and providers who do not follow the procedures should suffer penalties. Ofcom has in the past taken action where providers transgress, but only after months of problems, we would like to see incentives for providers to follow the rules all the time, e.g. penalties for breaking the rules on a per end-user basis. Fingers crossed Ofcom will ensure that whatever processes they arrive at, also work with fibre products and ensure number portability.