Switching broadband providers has just undergone its largest change for many years and to help people cope with the new process we have updated our broadband switching guide and various migration FAQ entries.
The new system means no need to sit on the phone waiting for hours to get your migration authorisation code to have a snooty call centre employee tell you to send an email to request it. With the new system all you should have to do is contact your new chosen provider and order a migration, the new provider is meant to take charge of the whole process informing your old provider.
The immediate reaction is that a gaining provider led system will lead to massive amounts of slamming with people being switched without their permission, this is where the notification letter comes into play, since the existing account holder is sent a letter by their old provider detailing the costs of leaving if there are any and how to contact them to cancel the migration if you did not authorise it.
This process will be familiar to those who have migration to a fully unbundled broadband solution or switched their voice line rental in the last few years as the same system applies. One major change to try and stop cowboy operators is that the records of consent people make when ordering a service must be kept so that if slamming does occur it will be possible to trace what went on.
The new rules DO NOT apply to switching to or between FTTH and cable providers, even if this is a switch between two providers using the same infrastructure, e.g. Openreach FTTP, but providers are encouraged by Ofcom to try and make the process as seamless as possible.
The system is not perfect, SME type providers were able to migrate people within a couple of days, but now with a 10 day notification period switching will be significantly slower. Another old trick of asking for your MAC to see what your old provider will offer has been cut-off since once the provider learns via the notification system you intend to migrate they are not allowed to make contact with a counter offer - this means you need to chase your existing provider before contacting a new provider to see what deals can be made.
With the new unified system being something that millions have essentially already used the transition should be smooth, but we will keep an eye open for glitches and confusion that may arise.