More than 300,000 customers a year are forced to go without Internet when switching broadband suppliers, with those in the capital being the worst affected.
According to data from online comparison site USwitch, those moving to a cheaper or faster deal can experience “void” periods of up to fourteen days. What’s more, a staggering one in seven were made to pay for their time without a connection.
Out of all the regions in the UK, Londoners had to go the longest without Internet when switching providers, with the average user reporting a wait of 2.3 days.
But there are extreme cases too. One in ten of those surveyed claimed that they’d been left in a broadband “void” for two weeks, while 6% reported a three week waiting period.
Understandably, a third admitted that the thought of being without Internet would make them think twice about changing supplier. If you’re worried about switching Internet provider, take a look at our simple guide.
Broadband expert at uSwitch Ewan Taylor-Gibson said: “You should generally allow around two weeks from the point of sale to get your new broadband installed. At the very least, it can be irritating for those who enjoy Internet TV services, but it can also seriously impact those who are isolated, work from home or need access to critical services online.”
The situation has got so bad that Ofcom are expected to step in and announce a range of measures this spring, with customer compensation believed to be at the top of their priorities.
An Ofcom spokeswoman told The Telegraph: “We’ve already made broadband switching simpler and smoother by introducing a ‘one touch’ process for customers of providers using the Openreach network – including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.”
She added: “We’re now looking at ways to make switching broadband between different networks, such as Openreach, Virgin Media cable and Sky satellite, easier and more reliable.
She continued: “We’re aware that some people experience difficulties with the current switching arrangements, such as loss of service and having to double pay when old and new contracts overlap. We are now considering the best way to address these problems and are analysing responses to our consultation, alongside other evidence.”