Enforcement programme: Industry's failure to implement One Touch Switch by deadline of 3 April 2023
|Programme into||Industry's failure to implement One Touch Switch by deadline of 3 April 2023|
|Case opened||3 April 2023|
Providers of fixed landline and broadband services were required to implement the new One Touch Switch (OTS) process by 3 April 2023. OTS is designed to make it easier and quicker for customers to switch their services.
Industry have failed to implement the new process on time, so we have opened an enforcement programme to make sure that relevant providers deliver OTS to a high standard, and in accordance with the agreed specifications, as quickly as possible.
|Relevant legal provision(s)||
General Conditions C7.18 – C7.27 (3 April 2023 version)
In August this year, The One Touch Switch Company (TOTSCo) announced that it is planning for the industry-wide launch of One Touch Switch (“OTS”) to take place on 14 March 2024. Ofcom firmly expects providers to meet this date.
Ofcom continues to closely monitor the progress that providers are making towards implementing OTS, including that they are taking all necessary steps to achieve this date. In September, we issued our second formal information request to a number of providers. The purpose of this request was to assess providers’ progress since our first information request in May. In particular, we sought to understand providers’ readiness in relation to testing the relevant systems and processes required for implementing OTS.
We remind stakeholders that Ofcom will not hesitate to open investigations should we identify specific issues with individual providers.
In April, we issued a formal information request to a number of providers following the opening of our enforcement programme into industry’s failure to implement One Touch Switch (OTS) by the 3 April 2023 deadline.
The purpose of the request is for us to establish what steps providers have already taken to implement OTS, what steps still need to be completed and providers’ plans for these.
The request focuses on evidence of readiness against the following main themes. We are sharing this summary given the cross-industry nature of OTS:
- Engagement with the relevant industry forum, The One Touch Switching Company (TOTSCo)
- Preparation for compliance with Gaining and Losing provider obligations
- Preparation for cross-industry end-to-end testing of the hub
- Preparation of customer communications and staff training
- Any other reasons that have led to delayed implementation
It is important to note that the information request is not intended to serve as guidance for providers. It remains industry’s responsibility to bring themselves into compliance with their obligations under C7.18 – C7.27 of the General Conditions and to engage with TOTSCo as required in order to achieve this as quickly as possible.
Today Ofcom has opened an industry-wide enforcement programme into the failed implementation of the new One Touch Switch (OTS) process for residential customers by the 3 April 2023 deadline.
Our objectives for this programme are to ensure that OTS is delivered to a high standard as quickly as possible, and works effectively and reliably for customers in accordance with agreed specifications.
One Touch Switch
The One Touch Switch process will make it simpler and quicker for residential customers to switch broadband and/or landline services, including between providers that use different networks and technologies. It removes the need for customers to speak with their current provider before switching (which can put people off moving providers), as the new provider will organise the switch.
Enabling easier switching between providers allows people to shop around with confidence, and find the best price and services for their needs. Effective switching is also important for competition and supports the take-up of faster and more reliable broadband.
Conditions C7.18 – C7.27 of Ofcom’s General Conditions, which came into force today, specify the OTS process. Under these new rules, providers of fixed landline and broadband services to residential customers must provide a single process for customers who wish to switch broadband and/or landline services free of charge.
There are distinct obligations for Gaining Providers and Losing Providers under Conditions C7.18 – C7.27, but providers must co-operate throughout the fixed switching process.
Our enforcement programme
We understand that industry has not implemented the OTS process by today’s deadline, 3 April 2023. This means that multiple communications providers (CPs) are potentially in breach of the relevant General Conditions. Delays to implementation ultimately cause customers to lose out on the benefits of a quicker and more effective switching process.
We are therefore opening this industry-wide enforcement programme to:
- closely monitor the progress of providers;
- ensure that all developments required for implementation continue at pace; and
- make sure the OTS process is delivered is as quickly as possible to the standard agreed with industry.
We will gather information and engage with a diverse range of providers in order to closely monitor CPs’ progress in implementing OTS. In the event of further evidence being required from additional providers, we will consider the need to expand our enforcement programme. Where we identify specific issues, we may initiate separate investigations into individual providers.
Enforcement team (email@example.com)