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Ofcom confirms changes to migration processes
Friday 20 December 2013 14:57:46 by Andrew Ferguson

Back in August 2013 Ofcom announced its choice of switching process that it sees as fit for the 21st Century, and now after feedback there are a few tweaks and actual implementation looks set to start. As things stand there is no need to panic, if you were going to use MAC to switch provider you still need to get one, the timescale is not totally clear yet, as the first meeting of an industry working group to thrash out the actual implementation will not take place until 22nd January 2014.

The new migration system will arrive in two phases an initial Gaining Provider Led Notification of Transfer (GPL NoT) process must be in place nine months from today. This GPL NoT system is pretty much the same as what happens now if you switch your line rental between two voice providers and leave the broadband with an existing provider. The next stage which has a timescale of 12 to 18 months is to implement an harmonised GPL system with NoT+. We are sure people are now truly confused so what follows is our attempt at a simple version of what we are expecting based on the Ofcom documents.

  • When you choose to switch broadband, telephone or both to initiate the movement you should contact the provider you want to move to (Ofcom call this provider the gaining provider).
  • To avoid slamming, the gaining provider must keep a record of your consent to move to them for 12 months.
  • The gaining provider submits the required orders, and this triggers notification to your old provider, who will then issue a Notification of Transfer letter.
  • The notification of transfer letter must include:
    1. Exact details of any early termination charges due
    2. List of communications services that will be affected by the transfer, and any services the provider will still be providing you with that are unaffected.
    3. It should include the date of the transfer, a requirement for the expected time of day of the transfer has been dropped, due to the inability to get an accurate time from Openreach.
    4. The letter must include a statement to confirm the consumer does not need to contact the old provider to cancel the contract.
    5. The letter will be in the form of a paper letter through the post or another 'durable medium'. It can only be issued electronically if the customer has explicitly consented to this medium as part of their original order or subsequent communication.
  • Where a bundle of services is being moved providers are must co-ordinate the switching so both services are moved together to minimise loss of service.
  • When taking over services at a new property, providers can only proceed once they have an exact match for the address.

How this all operates in practice should become apparent as the working group progresses. This changes affect any telephone or broadband service that operates over the Openreach local loop be it shared LLU or fully unbundled, though the GEA-FTTP products appear to have been excluded with a decision to revisit them once the volume of GEA-FTTP is larger. Virgin Media cable telephone and broadband are thus also excluded.

These changes have been a long time in arriving the process started in 2010, and while the outcome looks likely to be a simpler process rather than the complex matrix of switching options now, we do expect there to be a period of confusion from both consumers and call centre staff.


Posted by zyborg47 over 3 years ago
I can't see how keeping a record of your consent to move to them for 12 months will stop slamming? Getting rid of the MAC is a mistake to be honest, in fact I think Ofcom should force all broadband suppliers that uses fixed line services to use a MAc, even ones like Talk Talk. Also Ofcom should force companies like Talk Talk, Sky and Bt to offer separate broadband and line rental services.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
+1 Nothing wrong with the MAC code system,Useless ofcom
Posted by baby_frogmella over 3 years ago
Why should Ofcom force LLU ISPs to offer separate broadband & tel services resulting in an increase in costs? Just because YOU can afford to pay £200 a month to your isp doesn't mean the rest of us can. No thanks, i'm perfectly happy with my TalkTalk full LLU bargain basement service ;)
Posted by zyborg47 over 3 years ago
@baby_frogmella, providers could still offer a package, but it should not be forced onto people. The way it is going people will have little choice. How many of the large providers would give me a separate broadband service if I wanted it? As far as I can see the only one is Plusnet.
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
Given how people usually bang on about wanting "naked DSL" I don't think the provider of line rental / calls is high on the agenda of th emajority.

It's not as if Sky and TT line rental is at a price premium and the smaller providers exist for separate services for those who prefer them.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
@herdwick: Problem with that is price,the majority of those small ISP's seem to have a pricing point aimed at small buisnesses, and ofter are charging a premium for that,The bigger isp's should offer broadband only,and some do, but they don't promote this in their advertising
BT retail will sell broadband only,but you have order via telephone as the option is not aviable on line Plusnet bb only can still be ordered online,
I too think that some of the bigger isp's should continue to offer bb only, after all why should it cost more ?
Posted by astateoftrance over 3 years ago
This will make moving ISP's easier which can only be a good thing, why should you have to phone and ask for a special code to migrate ?? So outdated.
Posted by tommy45 over 3 years ago
It will cause problems for a lot of people and ISP's
The MAC code system was put in place by Ofcom to act as a safeguard to prevent unscrupulous ISP's and even pranksters from switching you without your knowledge or consent,never heard of phone lines being slammed ?
Posted by herdwick over 3 years ago
Sky & TT can move your line now without a MAC so the proposal just harmonises things.

Bundling broadband with the line allows the price point to be lower as there's only one lot of admin and the potential call revenue can cross subsidise to some extent. What's the big problem with the phone service of the bundlers ? if it's that big go elsewhere.
Posted by galacticz00 over 3 years ago
Well something needs to change I was left without internet access for 30 hours because PO (Talk Talk) switched me off 1 minute into the changeover day and plus net didn't switch me on until 6 hours after the posting day. 2 months later I'm still waiting for my phone service to change over.
Posted by uniquename over 3 years ago
Cross-subsidising of services should not be allowed. The huge recent increases in overall cost of BT line contracts is purely to help pay for their sports challenge to Sky, and people with a BT Retail landline with or without BT Broadband are being unfairly hammered for something they have no interest in.
Posted by uniquename over 3 years ago
Cross-subsidising of services has in the past been a no-no by all regulators in all industries. It distorts the market for the individual products and leads to horrible complexity for the end user. If you think electricity and gas tariffs are complex, how much more so are they when bundled and including dual-fuel discounts?
Posted by chrysalis over 3 years ago
seems overly complex and silly. The change that needs doing is reinstating control of the line to the end user with direct access to openreach to unlock a line, tbats it, simples.
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