BroadbandTT Correspondent | 16 Jul 2013
Some 62% of respondents to a new web-based ISPreview.co.uk survey, which was conducted with 536 Internet users in the United Kingdom have said that they find the current process of switching between home broadband ISPs to be confusing (i.e. 38% didn't find it confusing) and 93% support Ofcom's (telecoms regulator) efforts to simplify the system. But cost could still be a significant problem.
The current migration system doesn't work across all platforms and sometimes incurs extra costs or downtime, which can leave consumers feeling both confused and frustrated. As a result Ofcom has been busy developing a “simpler and more reliable” solution for people who want to switch providers and this is due to be unveiled this summer.
However the regulator has previously warned that its chosen solution might require some form of Third Party Verification, which would help to protect consumers from abuse (e.g. being switched to another ISP without consent). But such a solution could impose more costs on ISPs and this might thus be passed onto consumers.
But support for Ofcom's development of a simplified migration process dropped from 93% to just 27% when consumers were asked whether they would continue to support the process if it caused their subscription price to rise or incurred an extra charge (23% were undecided and 50.5% said "No").
"Consumers would clearly benefit from a faster and more effective migration system for home phone and broadband services," said ISPreview.co.uk's Founder, Mark Jackson. "Our survey clearly shows overwhelming support for this but not without a few caveats."
"Ofcom has been actively developing such a solution, which has proven to be extremely complex, for almost three years. During this time the regulator has had to overcome a mountain of disagreements between ISPs and other technical obstacles. Never the less, consumers don't want to see extra costs creating a new barrier to switching," concluded Mark Jackson.
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