Telecoms | UK Regulatory Outlook April 2023
Published on 27th Apr 2023
Ofcom investigates broadband providers for failing to implement simpler switching | Ofcom 'Plan of Work' for 2023/24 published
Ofcom investigates broadband providers for failing to implement simpler switching
Ofcom has begun an industry-wide enforcement programme in relation to the failed implementation of a new broadband switching process, as the industry has missed the deadline of 3 April 2023 to launch the new service.
Having previously consulted on a simpler switching process in 2019, and again in 2021, there is some frustration from the regulator that the industry has not met the deadline for launching the new service, and there is not yet an indication of when this will be ready.
Conditions C7.18 – C7.27 of the General Conditions came into force on 3 April 2023, which set out the "one touch switch" process. The new rules require landline and broadband providers to operate a single process for customers who wish to switch broadband and/or landline services free of charge.
From 3 April 2023, mobile providers are required to provide better information for customers to help them make a more informed decision when thinking about switching. It will now be easier for customers to keep their numbers when switching providers.
Ofcom's enforcement programme is in place to monitor the progress of providers and ensure that the "one touch switch" process is delivered as quickly as possible.
Ofcom 'Plan of Work' for 2023/24 published
At the end of March 2023, Ofcom published its Plan of Work for the upcoming year, setting out its areas of focus.
Two of Ofcom's key priorities are:
- Furthering the interests of telecoms consumers; and
- Secure and resilient telecoms infrastructure.
The UK government is committed to safeguard the interests of telecoms customers, including those who are most vulnerable in society. Ofcom will provide support to make sure consumers are protected and can make informed choices regarding their use of telecoms services. Ofcom is also committed to its initiatives which support fairness for customers and to promote social tariffs.
Ofcom continues to support the UK government’s commitment to network security and resilience. Under the Telecoms Security Act, the regulator has monitoring and enforcement powers to help ensure security compliance across the sector.
Over the coming year, Ofcom will also complete a market study on the supply of cloud computing services as part of its Digital Markets Programme, and the regulator will also finalise its guidance for broadbands and mobile providers with respect to net neutrality.
Spring 2023: Ofcom consultation into digital content gateways and online communications services to be published
Autumn 2023: Ofcom responses to cloud services market and net neutrality reviews to be published
31 March 2024: Telecoms Security Rules
"Tier 1" telecoms providers will now be expected to implement the most straightforward and least resource intensive measures (for example, maintaining accurate records of all externally-facing systems) by 31 March 2024