DSL customers should find it easier to switch broadband providers from today, after a group of internet service providers signed up to a voluntary code of practice.
Under the code, ISPs will do all they can to minimise the delays and disruption many broadband customers currently face when migrating from one service provider to another.
However, customers will still be required to complete minimum contract periods as agreed with their ISP.
The 16 ISPs which have signed up to the code account for approximately 70 per cent of the ADSL market, and more are expected to join.
Richard Sweet, chairman of the industry working party that agreed the code, told vnunet.com: "Migration has been a very sore point for consumers.
"I am very pleased that 16 service providers have signed up in time for the first day, and I expect others to sign up soon."
Customers can ask their existing ISP for a migration authority code which they then give to their new service provider. The new company then arranges with BT Wholesale for the service to be transferred.
ISPs signed up to the agreement have to provide the authority code promptly and with no strings attached.
"This should minimise the disruption for consumers. If their service is switched off, it is now for a matter of hours rather than days," said Sweet.
"This shows that the industry is mature and can regulate itself without needing intervention from Ofcom."
The ISPs which have agreed to the code are: AOL, BT, Bulldog, Easynet, InterViVo Networks, LCC Communications, Mailbox Internet, Netplan Internet Solutions, Nildram (Accent UK), Spitfire, Telefonica UK, Thus (Demon), Uniworld Communications, Virgin.net, Video Networks Ltd and Wanadoo UK.
The code does not cover migrations between ADSL and cable modem-based services.
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