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News New Migration System

On 20th Jun 2015 the way broadband migrations work is changing.

There are many ways that broadband and/or telephone service can migrate between providers, but the most common of these is between providers using BT copper pairs, and this process is now changing. Previously a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) was obtained from the losing provider and was given to the gaining provider which then placed the migration order with the carrier (e.g. BT).

From 20th June the new process does not require a MAC to be used - the gaining provider simply places the migrate order with the carrier. The losing provider is told, and they tell their customer about it. There is a 10 working day window, and this gives you a chance to cancel the migration.

We plan to update the rest of the web site, and our ordering system, on the 20th/21st weekend. Please do bear with us during this change over. Before the 20th, customers may start getting notices of migrations or ceases even where a MAC is used.

Changes to A&A ordering

From the 20th new orders where you are migrating an existing service to us will no longer require a MAC. Instead the order simply contains a statement that you have authority to migrate the service, and we have to trust you. You will need to be very careful when entering the details, as a error in phone number or postcode could still match someone else's line and get their service migrated by mistake.

There is no change in pricing because of the new process. The order process will confirm that there is an existing service and offer it as a migration rather than a new provision.

Moving away from us

To move service away from us, you simply place an order with the new provider. Again, be careful to give the correct details. We will be told, and will email you a Notice of Transfer advising you of the migration and explaining how you can cancel it if you want. This notice will also include details of any early termination charges that may apply, and we have recently updated the way these work to simplify matter. See news item on the change.

We will continue to invoice and charge you as normal for your service. Once the migration happens, any credit for service already billed will be applied, and then any early termination charges added. If we owe you money at that point we will send it back to you, or adjust any pending Direct Debits that are not yet collected where possible.

Emailed notices

As you know, we email notices and invoices and direct debit details and so on - we are simply not set up to do mass paper posting, and it is generally considered better for the environment not to do so. However OFCOM have insisted that, even though it has always been in our terms, we need explicit consent from customers before we are allowed to send the Notice of Transfer electronically. We have emailed all customers to confirm this explicit consent, and almost all have done so. We have made this part of the ever increasing list of things you have to explicitly agree when ordering new service. This means we will send the notice by email. We email both the accounts contact as used for billing, and the technical contact related to the control pages login in question. We are also considering sending a text as well, so that people do not miss the emails, or find they have gone in to a spam folder. The emails are PGP signed in the same way as invoices.

Phone lines and Broadband services

The notices are independent for the broadband aspect and the telephone line / copper pair we provide. Bear in mind that we do not do phone line only, and so migrating broadband away whilst we provide the copper pair will result it in being ceased, and hence the broadband will stop working (even with the new provider). So if migrating broadband you also need to migrate the copper pair.

It is also important to realise that most of our new services for a copper pair are not a "telephone service" any more, and do not allow any calls of any sort, and as such no phone number is provided. If you need to know the underlying, unused, phone number so that you can migrate the service away, do feel free to contact sales. However, some newer services are coming along that will not have any sort of underlying phone number. This will make this new migration system a tad more difficult.

Larger customers

The entire process only applies to consumers and small businesses. Anyone that is a communications provider, or has more than 10 people doing work for the business, is not covered. In practice we plan to allow the new migration process to work for such customers (incoming and outgoing migrations) but none of the normal rules apply and other companies do not have to follow them or allow migrations if you are a larger business. OFCOM expect you to provide new service and cease the old one instead.

Office::1

Our Office::1 service is a complete package - it has copper pairs and broadband and multiple lines. We do not provide without the copper pairs, or with fewer than two lines. As such any attempt to migrate away the copper pair will cease the broadband, and ceasing to below two lines means the whole service is ceased. In theory if you move all copper pairs and lines, you could migrate Office::1 away, but it is unlikely another provider will offer the same service as Office::1.

EoFTTC

We provide some Ethernet based services, including site to site links. Unfortunately these too use an underlying "Phone line" and "broadband" link. It is possible that someone could accidentally or deliberately migrate one of both services. We are unsure if our carriers can properly give us notice for migration of these services and we do not even know the underlying "Phone number" of these. So this could be a can of worms waiting to happen. Obviously, if there are any issues, we'll work with carriers to rectify the issue as quickly as possible. Sadly, OFCOM have not created any sort of "fast revert" process for errors, so it is likely to take another 10 working days.

Slamming and mistakes

Slamming is where another carrier takes over one of the services deliberately and starts charging for it - it normally only works where they have some billing relationship, e.g. if they have the phone line and take over the broadband aspect. It is usually based on some tenuous "consent" such as someone sounding "interested" in their service on a phone call. Obviously the 10 day warning and notice should help stop this, but if someone misses the notice, this could happen.

It is also possible for a mistake to cause a migration. Typically an ISP will only be able to check the phone number and postcode matches. This is usually good enough, but as you can imagine it is possible for a mistyped phone number to be in the same postcode, especially on residential addresses. Again, the 10 day notice should alert you and avoid problems.

Anti-slamming service

However, in light of both of these issues, and by popular demand we are now providing an anti-slamming services. The control pages for your line have a link to activate or de-active this service, and there is no charge. The service simply means you have given us standing orders to reject any migration. Sadly, there may be ways, with local loop unbundling, where migrations can still happen without us having any control (as can happen now even with no MAC), but we will endeavour to block any migration request (for phone line / copper pair or broadband) on your line if you have the anti-slamming enabled.

If you do want to migrate service, simply disable the anti-slamming first.

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