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Broadband customers will be able to switch provider in one day under new rules

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New plans are being drawn up to make it easier for broadband customers to switch suppliers.

Ofcom has said that households are being put off switching services, especially when changing from those operating on the Openreach network to other providers that use their own cables, including Virgin Media or CityFibre.

Around four in 10 households said they decided to stick with their current provider because of the perceived hassle of having to contact more than one operator, the regulator found.

Openreach has outlined plans to provide full fibre broadband to around five million homes and businesses in the UK
Image: Current rules mean customers can switch between providers on the Openreach network by only contacting the new service

A further one in four added they faced unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay from their supplier, according to research.

Ofcom said that as a result of the change switching could be done in a single day and would no longer involve households liaising with both companies.

The new rules will be welcomed by many customers, especially with more people working from home and relying on their broadband connection during the pandemic.

Current rules mean customers can switch between providers on the Openreach copper network – including BT, Sky and TalkTalk – by only contacting the new service.

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But the new proposals mean others with their own network of cables – which are growing following the rollout of superfast broadband and include CityFibre, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic – will also be covered by the simpler process.

Providers will also have to compensate customers if things go wrong and they are left without a service for more than one working day.

Notice period charges beyond the switch date will also be banned.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director, said: “We’re making it as easy as possible for you to break up with your broadband provider and take advantage of the deals on offer.”

All broadband networks must sign up to the One Touch Switch process in place by April 2023 to give enough time for the companies to upgrade their systems effectively, Ofcom added.