Ofcom does away with MAC codes to make switching broadband even easier

Broadband customers will no longer have to contact their provider before they can switch - the new provider will take care of everything, so the process is simpler than ever.

It will soon be made easier to switch broadband provider as the process of moving from one service to another is being simplified for consumers.

New measures outlined by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, will give power back to the customer and the provider they're switching to, instead of the old provider they're trying to leave - and which might be reluctant to let them go.

Customers will no longer have to contact their existing provider for a Migration Authorisation Code or 'MAC' before they can switch.

Instead, the provider they're switching to will manage the transfer process, and should ensure a seamless transition with little or no downtime.

The current process, which can differ depending on the providers you're switching between, is known to cause confusion and creates a perception that switching broadband provider is difficult - when in fact it's almost always hassle-free.

Claudio Pollack, Ofcom's consumer group director, said: "Today's announcement represents an important milestone in Ofcom's work to improve consumers' experience when switching provider.

"The move towards one clear and simple system led by the gaining provider will result in a switching process that works in consumers' best interests."

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, added: "The majority of switches nowadays are carried out without any problems.

"The misconception that switching broadband is complicated is deterring thousands of customers from finding a better deal, and our own research has shown that around half of the UK's broadband customers haven't switched in four years or more.

"Ofcom's switching guidelines will not be implemented until 2015, but that doesn't mean households can't shop around now for a better deal."

Research by broadbandchoices suggests that UK households are throwing away more than £500million a year by failing to switch their broadband package.

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