From tomorrow it will be easier for consumers to switch from a crap broadband provider to, er, well, another — possibly slightly less crap — broadband provider.
The new rules apply to those using the Openreach telecoms network, such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.
Previously, consumers had to obtain a Migration Authorisation Code to give to their new provider. Under the new system, the switching process will be handled by their new supplier on their behalf.
"The new process puts the responsibility for the switching process in the hands of the provider the customer is joining," said Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive. "This will make a real difference for consumers, and will encourage more people to take advantage of very strong competition in the landline and broadband markets."
Dan Howdle, telecoms analyst at Cable.co.uk, said: "The way things were was unethical in precisely the same way it would be unethical to force drivers to negotiate their escape from a car park with a person whose sole reason to exist is to deter them from doing so."
However, a report yesterday by consumer body Which? suggested there was little difference between broadband providers. It said the vast majority of consumers all receive sub-par speeds.
As such, the body is calling for a clampdown on the speeds providers are legally allowed to advertise.
Ofcom said it is also looking at ways to make it easier for mobile phone customers to change provider. ®