Telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed changes to make it easier for users to transfer between broadband service providers.
Ofcom has received complaints from customers who have found it difficult to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) from their current supplier.
A MAC is required to switch broadband providers; without a MAC, customers find it more difficult to change provider and may find themselves without a broadband service while the transfer goes through.
The MAC process is part of a voluntary industry initiative. This means that providers who make it difficult for their customers to obtain a MAC are unlikely to be in breach of any formal obligations, limiting Ofcom’s ability to take action to protect consumers.
Ofcom therefore proposes to introduce regulations that will apply to all providers of telecommunications services, which will make it mandatory for broadband service providers to supply customers with MACs on request, and to comply with a specific process for doing so.
Ofcom will also work with the industry to develop a process for customers to obtain a MAC from another source if their own broadband provider is unable or unwilling to comply.
Ofcom has also received complaints from users who have tried to order a new broadband service - for example, when moving location - only to be told that they are unable to do so because there is already a broadband connection on that line.
Ofcom says it will work with broadband suppliers to resolve the technical and organisational issues that currently prevent some users from switching providers or signing up to broadband services.
The deadline for responses to Ofcom’s proposals is 5 October. The proposals can be found at www.ofcom.org.uk
This was first published in August 2006