Broadband Providers - Switching to Get Easier
Posted by Michael Sterios on: 2006-06-14 18:53:52
Self SEO > Internet Connection Articles
You don’t have to look far to find a cheap broadband deal these days. With so many deals on offer, and with mergers and acquisitions between telcos paving the way for an increase in “broadband bundles” available to consumers, soon those without broadband will begin to feel left behind by the madding crowd.
Connecting to the Internet for the first time in your home or office is as easy as securing a fixed telephone line (which you probably already have) and signing up to one of the dozens of Broadband Providers offering deals on the market today.
Switching broadband providers, if you believe you have found a more suitable service for your particular needs is, however, not as easy.
Switching broadband providers more easily would certainly be a welcome addition to the market. Currently, if you decide to switch, your broadband provider will probably use at least one of the following 'lock-in' tactics:
- cancellation fees
- minimum 12-month contracts
- equipment leases
- not providing MAC codes
As a result, Ofcom have been conducting an examination of broadband services in the UK. The regulator wants to release customers from such burdens and ensure there are no obstacles in the way of customers who wish to move between companies and/or products.
With the current system, the customer who wishes to switch will be required to contact their current broadband provider (the one they're going to leave) in order to acquire a MAC - a Migration Authorisation Code. The ISP must then hand over the code to the new company, so the broadband connection can be transferred. It is a process that is not always quick or easy - and some providers do not currently provide MAC codes at all.
Ofcom is proposing that broadband users should have easy access to their migration code and should not need to ask their existing provider for it. It could, for example, be printed clearly on monthly bills. This would eliminate at least the first gruelling step in the migration process.
If such regulations are put in place, consumers would be able to pick and choose more easily from a range of different broadband internet services and providers, without the need for a BT Broadband phone line.
If Ofcom is successful, the changes should increase competition in the already competitive telecoms marketplace. Early signs indicate that things are already beginning to change.
Since the regulator began shaking up the industry a few years ago and slowly putting an end to BT’s monopolisation, several major deals between industry heavyweights have occurred.
This includes the merger of NTL and Telewest, who currently offer phone, broadband, and cable TV packages. They are now looking to take over Virgin mobile, and if they succeed they will be able to offer mobile phone plans in their bundles, and of course utilise the powerful Virgin brand name.
Also on the cards is Wanadoo’s plan to re-brand as Orange, which will make the mobile phone outfit a single brand name for all mobile, broadband and other converged telecoms services.
Not to be outdone, the UK’s largest satellite TV provider, Sky, have acquired broadband Local Loop Unbundling operator Easynet in order to give it the opportunity to offer its existing eight million satellite TV subscribers the triple-package deal of TV, phone and internet.
The mind boggles when considering what sort of bundles and packages will become available on the UK telecoms marketplace over the next few years. Because of this, the ability to easily switch providers will become even more important for the end consumer.
Of course, consideration must be given to the concept that despite this enormous battle of the brands, customers may be happy to stay with their existing providers. There will no doubt be at least a small hassle-factor no matter how easy the switch is made by Ofcom’s pending regulations.
Still, it would be nice to have the choice.