Virgin Media and Community Fibre to enjoy HUGE boost in September as ‘one-touch’ switchover launch confirmed

an engineer is pictured wiring a broadband router for a customer in their home

Switching between broadband providers that run on different networks will become easier as new "one-touch" system is scheduled to launch in September 12, 2024

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 12/03/2024

- 16:53

Updated: 03/05/2024

- 13:07

Switching between BT-owned Openreach and rival full-fibre networks will only be a headache for six more months

  • "One-touch" system promises to make switch between full-fibre networks easy
  • Everything will be organised for you by the rival companies
  • You'll be switched between providers within 24 hours
  • Compensation will be offered if you're left without an internet connection for longer
  • Hassle-free switch will kick in on September 12, 2024 after two delays
  • Britons currently have to make their own arrangements
  • This puts millions off switching to a better deal, Ofcom research shows

Switching between broadband suppliers with their own full-fibre infrastructure distinct from BT-owned Openreach — like Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, and Community Fibre — is about to get much, much easier.

One Touch Switching Company, an industry-led organisation often referred to as TOTSCo, has confirmed that its 'one-touch' switch system is now due to go live on September 12, 2024.

From that date, you'll be able to switch from broadband companies that run on Openreach infrastructure (BT, EE, TalkTalk) and separate full-fibre networks (Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, Community Fibre) within 24 hours, instead of the previous target of 10 days.

The switchover will be organised by the broadband companies, so you won't need to spend any time on hold with a customer service representative. If you lose internet for more than a day during the switch, you'll be paid compensation.

Earlier this year, TOTSco confirmed that its original launch date of March 2024 was “no longer achievable."

Boris Johnson is pictured on a tour of an Openreach facility during the pandemic

​Then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson tours an Openreach facility to learn about the broadband infrastructure network across the UK 


Switching between broadband brands that run on infrastructure from Openreach, like EE, BT, Sky, Vodafone, TalkTalk, and Plusnet to name just a few, is relatively simple. There’s no need to contact your current supplier to let them know that you’re leaving, instead, all of the admin is handled by your new broadband provider when you sign up for a new contract.

The two competing brands will organise a switchover behind the scenes, so you're not left without an internet connection for more than a few hours. If things dogo awry during the switchover and you’re left without broadband for more than one working day, you'll automatically be compensated for the inconvenience.

This hassle-free switching has been commonplace for over a decade, ever since Ofcom threw its weight behind tough switchover rules back in 2013. It means you can ditch your current broadband supplier with relative ease, so you can switch to a deal with lower costs, faster speeds, or a better bundle with paid-for TV and other perks.

It removes almost all fears about switching broadband providers — being left without a connection for weeks, evenings spent on the phone to arrange a date for an engineer appointment, paying two broadband bills because the cut-off date and start of your new contract didn't line-up perfectly.

However, there was one exception: these measures only worked with brands on the Openreach network.

The One Touch Switching Company was created to bring these same rules to all broadband providers in the UK for the first time. Suppliers like Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, Community Fibre, and G.Network to name a few, all own and operate full-fibre networks distinct from Openreach.

Since these separate networks are not covered under the existing rules, switching between an Openreach-powered brand to a standalone fibre network is much more onerous.

You’ll need to contact your current supplier to arrange a date to switch off your current connection and try to organise the installation of your new provider as close to that date as possible.

Unfortunately, if you’re left without internet for days – that’s on you.

Unsurprisingly, the extra admin required to switch to one of these brands puts off some customers. Four in 10 people (41%) in the UK decide against switching because of the headache of having to contact more than one provider, previous Ofcom research has shown.

A similar number (43%) were put off switching because they deemed it too time-consuming. And of those who do switch, almost a quarter (24%) who contact their current provider face unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.

With the announcement of the September 12 launch date, we've never been closer to all broadband providers operating under the same rules. Customers looking to switch from BT to Virgin Media broadband will be able to guarantee that they're not left without an internet connection for days — with both companies working behind-the-scenes to ensure there's minimal disruption as you switch from Openreach infrastructure to Virgin Media.

But it hasn't been a smooth road to get here.

The One Touch Switching Company pushed back its launch date twice, with the system originally scheduled to launch in April 2023 before it was rescheduled to March 2024.

Following the second delay, TOTSCo is now targeting September 2024.

Speaking to GB News about the launch date announced by the One Touch Switching Company, Alex Tofts, an industry expert who works at comparison service Broadband Genie, said: "While we're encouraged to see a live date pencilled in, we must temper expectations. The industry has had almost four years to prepare for this, and we've already seen a missed deadline back in March 2023, as well as countless delays.

"With an overly complex switching process and the growing number of fantastic offerings from smaller providers, consumers need this process to come in now. Broadband is the only utility that hasn't been streamlined. Our research has found broadband switches are down across the market, meaning shoppers will be £53 million worse off compared to last year. If the One Touch Switch Company and Ofcom don't deliver this system on the new live date, they will have failed customers again.


"There's no guarantee we'll still witness the One Touch Switch this year. In the meantime, broadband bill payers shouldn't be discouraged from reviewing their telecoms contract. Mid-contract price rises are coming in from next month, and it's better to switch now to lower the hit in the spring. Some providers such as Hyperoptic, YouFibre and Cuckoo have committed to not raising customers' prices mid-contract."

an openreach branded van is pictured parked outside a row of colourful houses Openreach, which is owned and operated by BT, plans to build-out its full-fibre network to 25 million homes by December 2026 OPENREACH PRESS OFFICE

When the system does kick-in, for the first time, Britons will be able to change between any broadband provider in the UK and enjoy the same switchover process.

That will include moving between different networks and technologies – for example, from a provider using the Openreach network, like EE and Plusnet, to one using CityFibre or Virgin Media infrastructure.

It should allow millions of British households suffering from higher monthly bills, slower connections, and poor customer service to make a change.

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