Ofcom had mandated internet providers to introduce the “one touch switch” service by Monday to help customers facing steep bill hikes.
However, the communications regulator expressed disappointment that they had missed the deadline, and that customers had been let down at a time when millions of households were experiencing such bill increases.
As a result, Ofcom will conduct an industry-wide investigation into the issue, and broadband companies may face penalties.
The new service would have allowed customers to switch more easily between broadband providers that utilise different networks, such as those run by BT Openreach, Virgin Media, and Cityfibre. Under this system, customers would only have needed to contact their new provider to arrange a switch, rather than also contacting the old provider.
Changing providers would also have been quicker, with the process taking just a day wherever possible, according to Ofcom. Ahead of the April 3 deadline, Ofcom put pressure on companies to speed up implementation, but they have yet to establish the new system.
The rules were formally announced a year and a half ago, and suppliers had received almost four years’ notice through consultations and proposals. Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s Director of Telecoms Consumer Protection, expressed frustration, stating that the industry had received sufficient notice, time, and support to complete the task.
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