Broadband ISP Aquiss Accuse Vodafone UK of Incorrect Switching

In an unusual move, the boss of Shropshire-based broadband ISP Aquiss, Martin Pitt, has today publicly accused rival provider Vodafone of “handling a large percentage of migrations cases completely incorrectly” by treating them as “New Installs” rather than following the correct Ofcom process for consumer switching.

According to Aquiss, the issue seems to largely impact switches that occur across Openreach’s national broadband network (FTTC and FTTP lines). Consumer switches between Openreach based ISPs are required to follow Ofcom’s Gaining Provider Led (GPL) process, which is a largely automated process that starts when a customer contacts their chosen (new / gaining) ISP to begin the migration.

NOTE: The current GPL switching process typically takes at least 10 working days, starting from the date the gaining provider notifies the losing provider (i.e. this gives customers a chance to stop the switch, such as if it was started without their express consent).

Switches like this are usually a fairly smooth affair and should take place with only a minimal amount of downtime, particularly if the type of line being switched remains unchanged (i.e. FTTP to FTTP or FTTC to FTTC) as this should not require an engineer to visit. The customer is not required to contact their old provider for the switch to be put into effect.

However, Aquiss appears to be indicating that Vodafone are now treating a lot of normally smooth migrations incorrectly, which they say can “butcher the current connections” and “results in live assets remaining active with the losing provider, as no formal transfer has taken place.”

Martin Pitt, Managing Director of Aquiss, told ISPreview:

“We are repeatedly seeing Vodafone handling a large percentage of migrations cases completely incorrectly, especially across the Openreach network, treating them as New Installs, rather than following the correct migration transfer path as laid out within the GPL process. Their approach results in the unnecessary attendance of engineers to properties, who either fit a 2nd ONT or butcher the current connections, where a working service and ONT is already present. This results in live assets remaining active with the losing provider, as no formal transfer has taken place.

If you catch these early on in the process, normally via the customer making contact, Vodafone representation, will often claim this is how the process is done or the losing provider is on CityFibre (even
where no coverage exists), completely deflecting their responsibility to make sure orders are handled correctly and trigger, where required, a takeover of live services.

Customers are therefore left in a “they said this” and “they said that” approach, which is totally unacceptable, especially as this process should be seamless. We are seeing far too many examples where this is a normal process, rather than an exception”.

We have reached out to Vodafone for a comment and will report back once they respond.

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