From the horse’s mouth
In the UK, Ofcom have simplified the processes involved for customers who want to change DSL providers that use the BT Openreach or KCOM telephony infrastructures.
Previously, a customer who wanted to “jump ship” had to obtain from their prior ISP a “Migration Authorisation Code” and had to pass this to the newer provider they were about to sign up to. Now, from Saturday 20 June 2015, the newer provider will facilitate the switchover without extra work from the customer.
There will be a requirement that the both the existing and the new ISPs send a letter to the customer advising them of the switchover and this will be the point where the customer can opt out. As well, both ISPs are required to keep records of the customer’s consent to change ISPs in order to protect customers against “slamming”. This is the practice where a customer is switched between electricity, telephone or Internet services that use the same infrastructure without their knowledge or permission and can result from participation in a “cold-call”.
But there could be the ability for customers to arrange with their ISP to have any switch-over to be an opt-in process to frustrate “slamming” attempts. This may be of value to small-business users who are often at risk of falling prey to various scams targeting that sector.
According to Which?, UK’s main consumer-protection body who is similar to Choice in Australia, customers are receiving sub-par Internet bandwidth from most of the providers who are using this infrastructure.
As I have said before, this would apply to Internet services which use the BT Openreach or KCOM telephony infrastructures and wouldn’t really apply to customers switching between services with different infrastructures like cable or FTTP fibre-optic. But a good question worth raising is that if a customer is made aware of aVDSL2 service and switches to the FTTC service, would this arrangement take place for customers switching to the FTTC service?
What this improvement should offer is to allow customers to have more control over the Internet services they subscribe to so they have greater value for money.