Good news for broadband users, as Ofcom has announced steps to make switching broadband provider slightly less painful. This should hopefully downgrade the process from "an utter nightmare" to "only mostly a nightmare".
A new "one touch" process, which came into effect over the weekend, requires that the ISPs themselves do some of the legwork involved in switching over your line, by talking to each other to get your "MAC" (Migration Authorisation Code), which saves you calling your old provider.
At the moment, this only applies when switching between broadband providers on the OpenReach network: ISPs like BT, Sky and EE. Basically everyone but Virgin Media, because it uses its own cable network.
As part of the new process, ISPs will request and transfer MACs between themselves, by both sending you a letter to confirm what is going on, to ensure that it isn't being done without your knowledge.
So good news if you've seen that the grass is greener elsewhere and are looking to switch. Hopefully this should speed up transfers, and fingers crossed it is a step closer to providing contiguous service like you would get when switching gas or electricity provider, without having to live broadband-free for a month in between.
Ofcom says that it is currently looking at doing the same thing for mobile phone contracts too. So perhaps soon we'll no longer have to phone up to get our PAC code either. Rejoice! [Ofcom via Engadget]