Uswitch Calls for Action on Broadband Provider Delays and Price Rises

Uswitch, the UK comparison and switching service, has publicly urged the country’s major broadband providers to expedite implementing a streamlined switching process called One Touch Switch.

This call comes after the “Big Four” providers – BT, Sky, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk – failed to meet two deadlines for this reform, amidst impending mid-contract price hikes. Uswitch’s research reveals that many customers are keen to switch providers for better deals but are unaware of the potential savings and the planned industry changes to facilitate easier switching.

  • Uswitch published an open letter to the big four broadband providers, urging them to end delays in implementing the One Touch Switch process to make switching providers easier for consumers.
  • The big four broadband providers missed their second target date for implementing the One Touch Switch process, just before rolling out mid-contract price rises of up to 8.8%, impacting consumer bills significantly.
  • Consumers are keen on industry reforms, with research showing that 28% of UK broadband customers plan to switch providers this year, potentially saving up to £1.43 billion collectively.

One Touch Switch: The Missed Deadlines and the Consequences

As you may know, the broadband industry has been working towards a standardised switching process, known as One Touch Switch. This anticipated process aims to make it easier for consumers to switch providers. However, the major broadband providers missed their second deadline recently, adding further delays to this much-needed industry change.

The Rising Cost and the Need for Change

As we approach the announcement of mid-contract price hikes from the large providers – BT, Sky, Virgin Media and TalkTalk – the need for an easy switch becomes even more urgent. These price rises, which could go up to 8.8%, come on top of an aggregate increase of 23% in broadband bills since March 2023. The timing of these increases and the missed deadlines for the One Touch Switch process are likely to cause significant concern for consumers.

Consumer Sentiments and the Urgency of Reform

Despite the need for change, many consumers remain unaware of the reforms. Uswitch research reveals that over half of the broadband customers (56%) are unaware of these reforms, and nearly eight in ten (78%) are clueless about the missed industry deadlines. This lack of awareness, coupled with concerns about exit fees and being left offline, means that as many as 4.2 million Brits out of contract still haven’t changed providers.

“Broadband customers have already been disappointed twice while waiting for One Touch Switch. While we welcome the new date – it’s crucial that the industry sticks to it without any further delays. As the timing of the missed target dates falls close to industry price rises, the consumer impact of the delays shouldn’t be overlooked.”

The Impact of the Missed Deadlines

The failure to implement the One Touch Switch process, originally set for 3 April 2023 and then moved to 14 March 2024, has led to a new target date of 12 September 2024. This delay restricts genuine competition in the market, making it harder for customers to switch providers, especially in the face of industry price rises.

Uswitch’s Plea to Broadband Providers

In light of these circumstances, Uswitch has published an open letter to the major broadband providers, urging them to prioritise their customers and adhere to the new target date without further delays. The letter stresses the need for a genuinely competitive broadband marketplace where customers can easily consider their choices and benefit from the best offers, irrespective of who provides the network infrastructure.

Final Thoughts

The pressure is now on the major broadband providers to deliver on their promise of a standardised switching process. The delay in implementing One Touch Switch, coupled with impending price rises, only serves to frustrate consumers and limit competition within the industry. It’s high time that providers prioritise their customers’ needs and deliver on their commitments, ensuring a competitive and fair marketplace for all.

FAQ

Q: What is the One Touch Switch process that the big four broadband providers have missed the deadline to implement?
A: The One Touch Switch process is an industry-standardised process that makes switching providers easier for consumers across different networks.

Q: Why are consumers advised to switch broadband providers amid rising prices?
A: Consumers are advised to switch to find a better deal, as Uswitch research shows that switching could unlock savings of up to £1.43 billion based on average savings.

Q: What are the concerns that customers have about switching broadband providers?
A: Customers are concerned about being charged exit fees, being left offline, and mistakenly believe there are no savings to be had by switching providers in the current market.

Q: How many Brits out of contract still haven’t changed broadband providers?
A: As many as 4.2 million Brits out of contract still haven’t changed providers, and nearly three-quarters of all broadband customers have no plans to switch.

Q: What has been the impact of the missed industry deadlines and industry price rises on consumers?
A: Broadband price rises have already cost consumers an estimated £427 million more on their bills since 2023, with further rises of up to 8.8% expected from April, leading to an aggregate increase of 23% to their broadband bill since March 2023.

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