Since 20 June 2015 (the “Harmonisation Date“), General Condition 22 (Service Migrations and Home-Moves) (the “GC 22“) has been fully implemented. GC 22 came into force last year but its full application in respect of broadband services (and its harmonised application to fixed telecom and broadband services) was delayed until the Harmonisation Date.
From the Harmonisation date onwards, the current Losing Provider Led based Migration Authorisation Code (“MAC“) process for broadband switching has been abolished and all switches on the Openreach (and KCOM) network have been harmonised. This means that Annex 1 of GC 22 will apply to gaining provider led switches of fixed telecom and broadband services and Annex 3 (MAC Broadband Migration Process) will cease to apply.
In addition, Ofcom announced yesterday an extension of its own-initiative monitoring and enforcement programme into cancellation and termination arrangements for a further period of 12 months (focusing on compliance with GC 22 and/or GC1.2). This monitoring programme focuses on assessing the cancellation and termination arrangements of communication providers, and the impact these have on consumers’ ability to exit their communications service contract quickly, conveniently and without error. Ofcom monitoring compliance program includes taking enforcement action where Ofcom has reasonable grounds to believe that a communication provider is contravening requirements related to cancellation and termination arrangements.
Ofcom has stated: “We will monitor the implementation of the new switching regulations, and complaints to Ofcom about switching, from micro-businesses and businesses in general. We will also consider switching for SMEs with more than ten employees within the overall context of our work and our priorities in relation to consumer switching”.
Under GC 22 Communications Providers (“CPs”) have an explicit obligation to monitor their compliance with this Condition, including conducting regular audits and monitoring compliance on their behalf by any representatives or agency engaged by them to markets the CP’s services (i.e. marketing agents), and take appropriate steps to prevent the recurrence of any problem(s) identified.
We have substantive experience advising clients on general compliance with GC 22 and have carried out Ofcom’s compliance audits for clients.