Ditching broadband and landline providers to get easier for UK subscribers

The UK's regulator wants switching to be simpler for consumers and may tackle mobile and pay TV next.

The UK's telecoms regulator Ofcom is introducing new rules to make it easier for customers to switch broadband and landline providers.

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Broadband and fixed-line users in the UK will only have to ask their new service provider to handle the process for switching providers from now on.

The new "single switching process" means consumers will no longer have to rely on their existing provider, which in Ofcom's view, have an incentive for making the process difficult.

Such a process is actually already in use for most landline and broadband switches, according to Ofcom, but the new rules ensure the industry settles on a standard that's better for consumers.

"The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers’ best interests," Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director, said in a statement.

"We will now be working on further measures to improve consumers' experience of switching."

Providers will need to keep records of customers' consent to switch, improve processes to ensure service continuity during a switch, and provide details that could affect consumers' choice about switching, such as termination charges.

Ofcom said it may tackle switching rules for pay TV and mobile switching processes, but the immediate focus is on implementing the rules for landline and broadband.

Ofcom has opened a consultation process for the new changes that will close on 2 October 2013 with plans to finalise details by early 2014. The new single-switch process will come into effect within a year from that, according to Ofcom.

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