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Knife the MAC

On Saturday, it became much easier to switch your broadband supplier – brilliant news for those of you struggling with poor speeds. Previously you had to contact your provider to ask them for a special code, called a MAC (Migration Authorisation Code), and it was not always an easy task. I am sure they made it hard in the hope that you would stay put and that they would retain your business.

The new rules introduced on Saturday will make the process a whole lot easier. Your new supplier will do all the hard work for you and you won’t even have to tell your existing provider you want to switch.

Market regulator, Ofcom, has flicked the switch so that all the work associated with the transfer is now done by the provider (ISP) you move to. This should put an end to many of the tiresome delays and bring substantial savings within reach.

Not everyone will benefit however but for the majority, switching to a better deal should now be much quicker and easier.

Openreach out of reach?

The rule changes only apply if both your new and existing suppliers use the BT Openreach network.

This covers pretty much every supplier with the  exception of Virgin Media – which accounts for around 20% of the broadband market.

“Switching broadband has entered contemporary folklore as shorthand for disruption and frustration”

Ofcom is hoping to extend the simpler switching process to include all providers later in the year. Until then, customers switching to or from Virgin will most likely have to follow the so-called ‘cease and provide’ process.

In other words, you would have to contact your current provider to cancel the contract and then contact the new provider to arrange the new service.

Ready to Switch?

If you are already on BT Openreach and are switching to a new provider who’s also on the Openreach network, here’s how you go about it.

Firstly, check whether you will have to pay a penalty with your existing provider (some providers insist on a minimum contract term and you could be forced to pay a cancellation fee (early termination fee) if you switch early).

Next, make sure you understand the total monthly cost of the new deal and the length of the new contract.

If you search for a broadband deal on MoneySuperMarket, all the information you need is available at the click of a mouse so you can make an accurate cost comparison.

To trigger the switch, contact your chosen provider who will arrange the transfer.

Your new and old suppliers will then both send you a notification letter to inform you of the switch.

The letter must include details of the services that are affected, as well as any cancellation charges. You should also be told the likely date for the switch, which usually takes about 10 working days.

Remember that you can change your mind and have a right to cancel the switch within 14 days without being charged.

Switching Broadband Providers. MAC no longer required.

Switching Broadband Providers. MAC no longer required.


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