Regulations proposed yesterday by Ofcom (the Office of Communications) should make it easier for customers to change their broadband supplier.
After several months of examining existing processes, Ofcom found that while changing broadband supplier was a satisfactory experience for most, problems that sometimes arose could be "serious and disruptive" to customers.
For example, Ofcom has received complaints from customers who have wished to set up new broadband services only to find that they can't because services are already in place for a particular address – an issue often encountered when people move house.
Ofcom proposes to make it mandatory for broadband service providers to issue an MAC (migration authorisation code) on request. These codes are essential when changing broadband suppliers.
The changes are not set to become law yet, but responses to the proposed regulations must be posted by 5 October.
Broadband operators such as Sky reacted positively to the proposals.
"People are paying too much to get broadband from their current provider. With instant savings available for many who switch, Sky supports Ofcom's objective of making it easier to join a new provider," said Brian Sullivan, director of product strategy and management at Sky.