Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Ofcom, the British watchdog agency, has told broadband providers they may not charge their customers a fee to give them a MAC (migration authorization code) to move to another broadband provider. Beginning on February 14 of 2007, all broadband providers must provide MACs for free. Consumers had run into problems because of long delays in switching to new providers; their initial free MACs had run out and they had requested new ones, but at least one former provider had caused a ruckus by refusing to give out additional MACs without charging a fee. Said Ofcom:
"A Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) is a unique alphanumeric reference that enables customers to switch broadband provider smoothly and with minimal disruption.
"Without a MAC, customers can be left without broadband for some time while the transfer is made. Previously, MACs formed part of a voluntary code of practice supported by a number of broadband providers. However, Ofcom is receiving an increasing number of complaints from consumers who find it difficult to obtain a MAC from their provider.
"Therefore, from 14 February 2007, General Condition 22: Service Migrations will require broadband providers to supply consumers with a MAC upon request and free of charge."