Digital Region customers and moving broadband service
The closure of Digital Region was announced last summer and yet it seems that many of the people using the network are still with the service. Some of the retailers are helping customers to make arrangements to move to other broadband solutions and as yet we have not heard of any news about an actual switch off date for the Digital Region network.
For those that do not know the Digital Region network in South Yorkshire is a sub-loop unbundled solution that offered VDSL2, which makes migration slightly more complicated as there will be physical work to be accomplished to get people onto a more standard ADSL2+ or Openreach FTTC based service. The broad migration options are:
- Order broadband from Virgin Media cable if available to an address, potentially the voice line can be left with an existing provider, or also moved to Virgin Media. No need for migration codes, simply a new order with Virgin and cancel the old Digital Region service.
- Leave Digital Region and join an ADSL2+ provider. Obviously ADSL2+ is going to mean slower broadband speeds, but this appears to be a method that should work, since Digital Region providers are able to obtain a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) from Thales and this should be accepted by ADSL2+ providers who utilise the BT Wholesale network (e.g. BT, PlusNet, IDNet, Zen and others). Most ADSL2+ providers will let you upgrade to their FTTC service, so joining on ADSL2+ for a month or two and upgrading might be the smoothest path. Technical jargon calls this a SLU SMPF to LLU SMPF migration.
- Leave Digital Region and join an Openreach fibre based provider. This should mean you get fairly similar broadband speeds, but there is no migration path available even though you can get a MAC from your existing Digital Region provider. The means that you would effectively cease your old Digital Region service and then order a new FTTC service once the databases had updated. This means that you might have a week or two with no broadband. In jargon speak this is a cease and provide.
- Another is to migrate to a fully unbundled provider. Which basically means migrating both telephone line and broadband to someone like Sky or TalkTalk. This works the same as for the rest of the UK where these operators have their unbundled network, i.e. there is no MAC needed, just order the new service and Sky or TalkTalk will tell Openreach who in turn tell your old provider. A SLU SMPF to LLU MPF migration.
For Digital Region customers, it is worth a scan of our broadband offers page and full provider listings. It is worth noting that offers come and go, so if you are kicking yourself about missing a brilliant deal, keep an eye open as they often emerge again after a few weeks.
That is about as short as we can get the advice, there are many caveats, such as some providers like the Post Office may used a variety of connection methods, hence why we did not mention them in the examples. Also as bundles of phone and broadband are very common the choice for the Digital Region customer can be more complex, particularly as some Digital Region retailers included a phone service.
For Digital Region customers it is also worth checking what your existing retailer is planning to do, since it is possible one or more may decide to resell a BT Wholesale or TalkTalk Wholesale service and try to move customers en-masse.
For those that have got a Migration Authorisation Code, the format should be something like LATM1234567/1F6HT i.e. made up of:
- 2 character alpha combination
- 2 character alpha CSS ID
- 7 character numeric combination
- 5 character alpha-numeric sum check
Remember the MAC is only needed if moving to a BT Wholesale based ADSL2+ service, it is possible that a provider you are moving to may not recognise the code, but it should validate against the Openreach order systems. We expect that some ISP online order systems may not recognise the code though, since they have probably never seen one from a Digital Region customer before.
A final bit of advice, given that migrations away from Digital Region are a rarely trod path, we would suggest that you consider making sure you have enough data allowance on your mobile phone or a have a mobile data dongle to tide you over in case any migration does result in no broadband for a period of time.