22/10/2021

One Touch Switch: New rules make it easier to switch broadband and save money

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Ofcom has recently announced the creation of a new service that’s been introduced to make it easier for people to switch broadband suppliers and get a better deal. The process is known as One Touch Switch. 

In this blog we’ll look at One Touch Switch in more detail, including why it’s been introduced, how the process works, and how it will save you money.

First, though, let’s take a look at the UK’s existing rules.


What are the rules for switching broadband in the UK right now?

The rules for switching broadband providers in the UK right now are based around a two-fold system; getting out of your current broadband contract, and accessing a new broadband contract.

Before you can sign up for a new broadband contract, you need to get out of your old one. This can be an awkward process, especially if you’ve been with your existing provider for a long time – 24% of people surveyed by Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, said they had faced unwanted attempts by their current provider to force them to stay.

Even if you do manage to get out of your existing contract, you have to go through the process of signing up for a new one, including researching tariffs, finding the best deals, sharing personal and financial information, and arranging for your router to be delivered and fitted.

But the biggest problem with the rules as they exist right now is that people have to do both of these things at once – they need to say goodbye to their old arrangement and put a new arrangement in place at the same time, while trying to make sure they don’t lose internet access.

For millions of people, walking that tightrope just isn’t worth the hassle.

 

Why do we need a new process?

While it’s possible to switch broadband providers in the UK and save money, research conducted by Ofcom found that more than two fifths of people surveyed were put off the notion of switching providers because of the hassle that comes with it. 

This idea that there are a series of hoops you have to jump through before switching has contributed to a landscape where there are more and more people stuck with broadband deals and internet providers who don’t offer them value for money.

Ofcom hopes that by bringing in One Touch Switch and simplifying the process, more people will be willing to switch broadband suppliers, access better deals, and ease the pressure on their household budgets.

 

What is One Touch Switch?

One Touch Switch is the name of a new process for switching broadband providers in the UK that has been created by Ofcom, the communications regulator charged with overseeing access to broadband in the UK.

Research by Ofcom has shown that many people find the process of switching broadband providers to be an onerous one, which puts a lot off making the switch. Ofcom has developed One Touch Switch as a way of alleviating these issues.

 

How does One Touch Switch work?

One Touch Switch aims to simplify the process of switching broadband providers by ensuring that customers don’t have to deal with their existing provider and their future provider simultaneously.

Under One Touch Switch, you will only need to contact your new provider. The only correspondence you should receive from your old provider is information about any unpaid balance. Once that is resolved, you can give your new provider the green light to proceed with the switch.

According to Ofcom, the new rules will also put the responsibility for the handover from one internet provider to another with the providers themselves, rather than the customer. If you are left without internet access for more than one working day, suppliers will have to compensate you for that lack of access. 

 

How will One Touch Switch save me money?

There are a lot of financial advantages to switching broadband providers. Just like gas and electricity suppliers, broadband providers tend to give the most favourable rates to new customers as a way of reeling them in.

You might think that being loyal to a particular company would save you money in the long term, but in actual fact the best way to get a better rate is often to leave.

According to a recent survey by Which?, customers of the UK’s four biggest broadband providers were found to be overpaying for internet access by as much as £143 per year. Their research showed that by using a price comparison site and switching providers, customers could save up to £300 annually. 

With that in mind, the way that One Touch Switch saves you money is by making it easier for you to access the financial advantages that come with switching suppliers. The easier it is for you to switch, the easier it is for you to save.

 

Is now a good time to switch broadband providers?

Broadband providers in the UK won’t have to adopt Ofcom’s One Touch Switch rules until April 2023. While some providers may be early adopters, others will need time to adapt to the new process.

You may not see the full benefit of One Touch Switch until 2023, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should stick with your current provider until then.

As mentioned previously, there are several benefits to switching broadband providers, whether that’s getting a better rate, exploring the possibility of a faster connection, or experiencing a better and more personal level of customer service with one of the UK’s smaller providers.

Whether now is the best time to switch depends on your individual circumstances, including whether you’re happy enough with your new deal, and whether you’re prepared to take on the switching process as it currently exists. That said, as long as you’re well organised and do our research, there are definitely savings to be made.


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