back to article At last, switching between rubbish broadband providers now easier

From tomorrow it will be easier for consumers to switch from a crap broadband provider to, er, well, another — possibly slightly less crap — broadband provider. The new rules apply to those using the Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk. Previously, consumers had to obtain a Migration Authorisation …

  1. Martin-73 Silver badge

    Oh brilliant move

    I see slamming in everyone's future. Who's stupid idea was this?

    1. Jon 37

      Re: Oh brilliant move

      > Who's stupid idea was this?

      The government, of course.

      Your current provider is supposed to tell you about the move, and you can cancel the migrate by talking to them quickly enough. Of course, if you happen to be on holiday, or not get the message, then you're stuffed.

      My provider has an option for me to tell them "I have no plans to move service away from you; if you get a migrate request it WILL be unauthorised so please reject it immediately without waiting for me to respond". (And I trust my provider enough to do that - i.e. I believe I could turn that option off easily if I ever did want to move).

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Re: Oh brilliant move

        Your provider sounds excellent :)

    2. Vic

      Re: Oh brilliant move

      I see slamming in everyone's future

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      I've changed provider quite a few times. It's very easy. Why did this need "fixing"[1]?

      Vic.

      [1] I use the term quite wrongly, of course...

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Oh brilliant move

        Indeed, I recently switched gas and electricity and was bothered by how easy it was. I didn't even provide meter codes. I simply went to the website, gave my details (including payment details) and away it went. a week later I get a letter from my current provider wishing me well then two weeks later im on my new provider. I signed NOTHING in the process.

        I suppose to do this in a nasty way you would need to pass the credit check on the payment direct debit part - im not sure if it would have been so easy on a pay as you go meter etc.

        I guess the same is for broadband, if the credit check sails through with the details provided then the companies wont bother you and transfer neatly....

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. edge_e
      Boffin

      Re: if any of them actually provided a decent service

      Some of them do provide decent service but they tend to cost more money.

      The article's beef seems to be with speed, not service, though and changing supplier is unlikely to make a difference to that as it's largely determined by that sagging corroding copper that makes up the final leg.

      1. StripeyMiata

        Re: if any of them actually provided a decent service

        When I moved from BT Infinity to AAISP my speed went from 27Mbps to 29Mbps.

        Browsing wise I havn't noticed any difference, but Torrents hit a lot higher speeds now.

        Although people slag off the BT Homehub, I'm convinced it had better wireless connection that the Thompson TG585 that AAISP give you. But it works good enough so haven't changed it.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: if any of them actually provided a decent service

        "changing supplier is unlikely to make a difference to that "

        So you may think, however....

        Smaller ISPs are more likely to keep badgering Openreach to fix shagged cables and they raise bloody hell when Openreach techs fail to show up at the appointed hour.

        Compare and contrast with XYZ favourite telco/media ISP who meekly roll over when Openreach say they fixed your fault, or accept that it will take another week to fix your shitty line.

        The best thing anyone on a poor line can do is move to a "Small ISP Which Can", as they won't let Openreach sweep problems under the carpet.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: if any of them actually provided a decent service

        " unlikely to make a difference to that as it's largely determined by that sagging corroding copper that makes up the final leg."

        I don't know that that's true. Different ISPs pay for differing amounts of backhaul capacity and may or may not have direct connections to CDNs.

  3. John Robson Silver badge

    THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

    As a naughty supplier I can just switch you now. No need for any compliance from the customer or the old phone company...

    1. Tom Chiverton 1

      Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

      Yup. So called slamming is common in the utilities door-to-door trade.

    2. gerdesj Silver badge

      Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

      As a supplier (reseller) this will come in handy for those times when the previous supplier got a bit tricksy with timeouts on MAC codes and then going suddenly unresponsive but I predict one or two "accidents" (slamming).

      We'll have to be doubly careful now when wacking in provides let alone sim. provides with transfer.

      A transfer failure will mean either or both your phone and internet will go missing in action for anything up to 2 weeks. Add another line and migrate to it if you value your connectivity. It will cost you an additional ~90 quid for a new provision and double ISP charges until you cease the old line. Oh and a change of fixed line number - less of an issue nowadays. We see something like 5-10% errors in transfers, so not too bad odds. A new line also means you get to re-position the termination and run it through conduit if you provide it before BTOR turn up. Sometimes new wiring might get you a better connection but no promises here.

      1. Vince

        Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

        Whereas now without a mac you will have to wait 10 working days... for a migration.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

        "We see something like 5-10% errors in transfers, so not too bad odds. "

        Not too bad? That's a disgusting error rate!

        Anything more than about 0.5% is intolerable when it can lead to - as you said - 2 weeks downtime.

        It's no wonder brits hate their telcos.

        1. gerdesj Silver badge

          Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

          ""We see something like 5-10% errors in transfers, so not too bad odds. "

          Not too bad? That's a disgusting error rate!""

          You are right it is pretty bad for a population but for an individual it is not bad odds - different thing.

          Also, when I say error - not all are as bad as others. For example, my own home connection! I did my own simultaneous provide to a new line. The FTTC connection went fine and I assumed that the phone line was OK. 6 months later I put in a POTS to VoIP terminal so that I could support emergency dialling at home (I have a PBX with SIP trunks and emergency dialling costs a fortune that way, just to set up). No dial tone. Bugger. Anyway after a lot of fettling by me including testing the last 30m of cable that I could get to and not re-connecting A and B in my master socket - honest, I logged a call and it was connected after two working days. Turns out it had never been connected!

          We are all eventually customers of BT OpenReach in the UK. Who guards the guards?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: THe MAC (And PAC) were there for a reason...

      Yes, I remember the doorknocking crew from TalkTalk, To my eldest boy.... ok, you don't want to switch, just sign here to say I've called on you please.

      Next thing I get a call from BT saying they are sorry to lose me

      Customer Intervention is needed to confirm the move is YOUR choice.

  4. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Its getting close the the time

    That all the phone/bb providers (yes including virgin as they have even less excuse) should be mandated to provide same day turnaround on transfers, or even a constant service provision like Gas and Electric.

    Im not saying its as important as those but its certainly going that way....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its getting close the the time

      "all the phone/bb providers (yes including virgin as they have even less excuse) should be mandated to provide same day turnaround on transfers"

      That's going to be tricky if your new supplier doesn't have any spare kit at the exchange. If your new rule requires them to hold a stack of unused kit in every exchange just in case, guess what happens to your broadband bill?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems to have started already

    I started the process of switching away from Sky a couple of weeks ago. Despite Sky telling me I needed to phone them to get a MAC (no simple web or email option, surprise, surprise) it's all gone through quite happily with no MAC.

    While this was all very convenient, with no long and expensive conversation with Sky trying to persuade me not to switch, it is curious that the experience of "slamming" by power companies seems to have been ignored. It's not as if Ofcom has shown itself to be the toughest of regulators and could be relied upon to prevent that.

    1. Chewi
      Facepalm

      Re: Seems to have started already

      Indeed. My ISP are still waiting for TalkTalk to get their act together on this new system. They eventually complained to OFCOM yesterday and got an out of office till the 24th reply. So they tried the additional contact that was given for urgent matters. Also out of office till the 22nd. Great to see OFCOM has people at the helm at this crucial time.

      http://www.revk.uk/2015/06/well-done-ofcom.html

  6. James Hughes 1

    Just switched from EE to BT

    Simply for cost reasons.

    Went through very easily, EE supplied MAC code with little effort, BT took MAC code and provided new router which works better than the old one (must be 6-7 years old). BT switched over seamlessly, didn't even notice when it happened.

    We have yet to see if service is better or worse. So far seems pretty much the same.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Just switched from EE to BT

      some companies can be a pain in the arse when ringing them though and since a sales department will always be manned well after techsupport/ cancellation have gone home the process should be easier. Virgin are a nightmare to get MAC codes from (ADSL not cable) as you are passed about before being put on hold - no matter how many times you say I DO NOT WISH TO STAY WITH YOUR COMPANY.

  7. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

    to get a fluffy name ?

    Surely all the elements of "slamming" add up to conspiracy to defraud, or gain pecuniary advantage by deception.

    It reminds me of criminal assault being rebranded "happy slapping"

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

      Thanks, guys; I googled 'slamming' *facepalm*

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

        I thought I'd Google "slamming" too. The first result was an article from the Independent, summarised thus:

        The trend – known as “slamming” – gives users a more intense high and commonly takes places at sex parties which can go on for several ...

        So it's not just a case of phone hijacking.

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: When did it become a thing for illegal behaviour

      "to get a fluffy name ?"

      Whenever people want to refer to that specific illegal behaviour and have other people know what they mean.

      "Surely all the elements of "slamming" add up to conspiracy to defraud, or gain pecuniary advantage by deception."

      Indeed. But if I said to you that I'd been a victim of a conspiracy to defraud, or gain pecuniary advantage by deception, you wouldn't know the specific nature of the offence - whereas if I told you I'd been a victim of slamming on my internet connection, you would.

      Names are handy.

  8. This Side Up
    Unhappy

    Not so easy to switch ...

    If you have a web site in the ISP's domain. I don't see any provision for the old ISP to forward web requests or email for that matter to the new ISP.

    To avoid this problem register your own domain and point it to your web site. You may also get mail forwarding from your personal domain, or use hotmail, gmail etc.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Not so easy to switch ...

      > I don't see any provision for the old ISP to forward web requests or email for that matter ...

      Indeed, I'm sure the hassle of changing email addresses is why the big providers are happy to provide an email address tied to their account. It amuses me when you see businesses (sometimes not very small ones either) still using an ISP specific email - especially when they've got their own domain name (they have the web address there as well).

      But yes, I see a bit of slamming going on here ...

      One thing I do worry about that's just come to mind ... How many people manage things like phone and internet on behalf of friends/relatives (eg an elderly and not very tech savvy relative) ? At present it's hard for them to accidentally agree to something as they'd not be able to get the MAC - but it seems they'll be able to fall for any old sales waffle from tomorrow. Hmm, must mention that to a couple of people - FFS don't buy any internet or phone service without asking me.

      It's bad enough with the old trick many ISPs have (TalkTalk is definitely one of them) who each time the fixed term comes up offer you something "free" - 18 months ago it was a "free" new router for my SO. Of course, what they forget to mention is that they are also signing you up to a new 18 month contract. I'd been waiting for that to expire, then I get home and blow me - she's only agreed to another "free" upgrade with another 18 month contract.

      That got cancelled, but not without a hard sell. Mind you, when I made it clear it was the new 18 month contract, the guy did back down. Offered me 12 months, the tone of my instant "NO" must have been a clue as his next statement was agreeing to cancel all the changes ! So now I can switch when I've sorted a couple of things out :-)

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Not so easy to switch ...

      You're a fool if you have a website (or email) handled by the same company which provides your connectivity.

      As such you and your money are easily parted.

  9. Johndoe132

    TalkTalk seem to be doing this already...

    I just switched from BT Infinity to TalkTalk fibre and saved myself around £30 a month.

    No need for a MAC code (it was never even mentioned); TalkTalk took care of the whole thing and the switch went ahead on the planned date.

    My only gripe would be that BT disconnected me at around 05:00 and the TalkTalk service didn't come online until the evening - I was beginning to think I had screwed up something in the new router when I pre configured it. Oh, and the fact that the TalkTalk 'Super Router' has some bizarre restrictions on which ports can be forwarded from the WAN side (8443 is a no-go which caused some problems with VPN traffic).

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: TalkTalk seem to be doing this already...

      "

      I just switched from BT Infinity to TalkTalk fibre and saved myself around £30 a month.

      "

      The top Infinity package is less than £30 per month, so unless Talk Talk are offering free broadband and charging £5 less line rental as well, I can't see how that's possible. I am at present quite happy to pay BT £26 a month for genuinely unlimited broadband that gives me 70Mbps download speeds about 90% of the time, very rarely drops as low as 50Mbps and has a steady 10Mbps upload speed at all times (with only one brief 10 minute outage in 3 years). Sure, I would switch to another provider if they were both cheaper *and* would provide at least the same level of service. My experience of cheaper services however has been that while they advertise "unlimited" use, they have a sneaky FUP that sees me throttled to dial-up speeds should I dare to download more than a few GB a month, and I only get close to the headline speeds between 3AM and 4AM twice a week.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: TalkTalk seem to be doing this already...

      Switching to Talk Talk is piece of pi**

      switching from Talk Talk ....now try that

  10. AlbertH

    When will they be made to advertise truthfully?

    The crazy "up to" speed ratings have to stop. Virgin (on the ridiculous) offer an "up to" 165Mb/s service around here. The reality is that it's (generally) below 45 Mb/s down (they blame "heavy local use" - I blame insane contention). They claim "unlimited": the reality is that as soon as you hit their arbitrary "fair use" cap, your already sub-standard speed is reduced further.

    VM and BT have some strange DNS manipulation going on, preventing access to sites and services that they don't want you to have. These are easily circumvented, but always at the expense of reduced speed.

    The prices charged in the UK are scandalous. Why can't they be directly proportional to the actual data rate that these thieves can really achieve? Why don't the toothless idiots at OFCOM ever do anything about the abysmal state of service provision in the UK? Is it just another "government" organisation collecting their brown envelopes at the expense of the rest of us?

    1. zedee

      Re: When will they be made to advertise truthfully?

      'VM and BT have some strange DNS manipulation going on, preventing access to sites and services that they don't want you to have.'

      Care to elaborate? I'm being forced to consider BT unfortunately.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will they be made to advertise truthfully?

      "Virgin (on the ridiculous) offer an "up to" 165Mb/s service around here. The reality is that it's (generally) below 45 Mb/s down (they blame "heavy local use" - I blame insane contention). "

      Yes, it's contended. It's a consumer broadband product - the sharing of resources is what makes it affordable. You can buy a guaranteed uncontended service from a whole host of providers - but I doubt you'll like paying £800 a month for it.

      "The prices charged in the UK are scandalous."

      They're amongst the cheapest in Europe. The UK market is very competitive.

      "Why can't they be directly proportional to the actual data rate"

      ISPs don't make much money. Those low prices see to that. If you force them to drop prices for lower speed connections, guess what happens to the higher speed ones? The cost of provision by the ISP is the same regardless of line speed. Openreach still want paying and the kit costs the same.

      If such a rule was introduced I'd imagine ISPs will decline to offer service to customers who could only achieve low speeds on their connection. Is that your intention?

  11. Mark 85 Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Look on the bright side, those of you on the left side of the pond... You have that option and apparently other providers offering different price structures and speeds. Come to the States and there's not of that in spite of what the politicos state about "competition".

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