Customers of pay-TV services should be able to switch from one network to another with greater ease and confidence, under new proposals from regulator Ofcom.
Currently, some people encounter problems when switching between providers whose services are delivered using different networks. Ofcom is proposing to help consumers switch pay-TV, broadband and landline services, either in isolation or as a ‘bundle’, between companies using the Openreach telecoms network, KCOM in Hull, Virgin Media cable and Sky satellite.
Ofcom estimates that around 884,000 switches are made between these networks every year, but there is currently no formal switching process to help people.
According to Ofcom, eight in ten people questioned said they encountered some kind of difficulty during the process of switching between different networks.
This included problems cancelling their previous service (reported by 38 per cent of cross-network switchers); while 17 per cent lost service on average for around a week during the switch. More than one in five double-paid by an average of £22 as a result of their old and new contracts overlapping.
Ofcom has outlined two alternative options to make it easier and more reliable to switch services between the Openreach, KCOM, Virgin Media cable and Sky satellite networks.
The ‘one stop’ process would place responsibility for the switch in the hands of a customer’s new provider, and the customer would only need to deal with the company they were switching to.
Ofcom is also seeking views on a new version of the existing arrangements. Customers would still have to contact their existing provider to cancel their service or services, but could do so without having to speak to them on the phone.
Lindsey Fussell, consumer group director, Ofcom, said: “We’ve already improved the switching experience for millions of landline and broadband customers. Now we’re consulting on making it easier and more reliable for telecoms and TV customers to switch between different networks, including when their services are bundled on to one bill.”