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3 Feb 2021

Changes to broadband switching could make the process even easier

A new 'one touch' switching process will reduce the hassle for those changing networks

Switching broadband provider could become even easier after proposals from Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, to introduce a 'one touch'process that means you'll only have to contact your new provider, regardless of which network they use.

Currently broadband customers only have to contact the new provider if they are moving between providers that use the Openreach network. However, if you plan to move to or from providers that use their own networks - such as Virgin Media or Hyperoptic - you have to contact both. Ofcom says its new plan will make switching smooth for all broadband and landline customers.

Ofcom has opened the proposal up for consultation - if it decides to move forward with the plans, they'll come into force from December 2022.

Switching provider when out of contract can offer a range of benefits, including savings on your monthly bill, and the opportunity to choose a faster and more reliable service for less.

So if you have the opportunity to shop around, you shouldn't wait.

Use Which? Switch Broadband to compare the best broadband deals available where you live

How could broadband switching change?

The aim is that switching provider will mean only ever having to contact one provider. There are three steps:

  1. Contact the provider you want to switch to and share your details
  2. Your old provider will then get in touch with important information about switching. This will include any charges that will be applied for early termination and whether other services the you have with the same provider will be affected.
  3. If you decide to go ahead, the new provider will then manage your switch

Ofcom's research found that some 41% of people who decide against switching broadband provider have been put off by the hassle of having to contact more than one provider.

Of those who switch, 24% have faced unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay when contacting their current provider.

Its aim is for the new process to make switching quicker and reduce the risk of downtime between connections.

Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:

'The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a good broadband connection, however when it comes to switching to get a better deal or service, some people have faced issues with the current process, which is not as easy as it could be.

'This proposal to introduce a 'one-touch' switching process, which could also reduce switching time, is good news for consumers and will remove unnecessary barriers that could discourage them from moving providers.

'Consumers should not let flaws in the current system put them off looking for a better deal now though - anyone unhappy with their current provider could potentially save almost £50 a year and get better service.'

Why you shouldn't wait to switch broadband provider

While we support Ofcom's decision to make switching as simple as possible, if you've recently been weighing it up it's still worth doing now - particularly if you're dissatisfied with an unreliable connection or poor customer service.

When we surveyed over 7,000 members of the public about their switching experiences with telecoms providers, the majority said they found the process of switching easy.

Plus, if you're moving between the many providers that use the Openreach network - including BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone - you already only have to contact one provider.

We found that broadband customers who switched saved an average of £48 per year while those with a combined TV and broadband deal saved an average of £96 a year.

Learn more about how the process works in our guide on how to switch broadband provider.

If you find it tricky choosing between different deals, our guide to the best and worst UK broadband providers reveals how satisfied customers of each provider are with the key aspects of its service, including value for money, broadband speed and connection reliability.