Switching broadband provider is still problematic

Despite Ofcom rules introduced a year ago to make the process easier, broadband subscribers are still reporting difficulties when moving to a new provider

Switching broadband providers is still proving a tricky business despite Ofcom rules introduced a year ago designed to make the process easier.

To switch providers, subscribers need to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from their current broadband provider.

They should receive the MAC address within five working days of the request according to the Ofcom guidelines, but research by comparison site uSwitch claims this isn't always happening.

Over the past 12 months, around four out of 10 (38 percent) broadband switchers said they didn't receive their MAC code within the five-day period while 14 percent said the code failed to turn up at all.

Less than half of people surveyed said they had received the MAC code at the first time of asking, with a quarter saying they had to chase their broadband provider to come up with the goods.

And these figures have gone up since the Ofcom regulations came into force, with an earlier survey finding 11 percent of people said their MAC code didn't arrive at all and 13 percent saying they had to chase their broadband provider.

Steve Weller, head of communications services at uSwitch, said MAC codes are so vital that many broadband companies refuse to sign up new customers if they don't have the code.

He added that Ofcom needs to address the problem "as a matter of urgency" and punish providers who are failing to deliver with financial penalties if needs be.

According to uSwitch, around a quarter of a million people switch broadband supplier every month.

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