From today businesses, households and consumer groups can help shape government plans to make it easier for customers to find broadband and mobile deals through a new smart data scheme.
A consultation launched by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) will explore whether a Smart Data scheme, which would give broadband and mobile customers access to data about their current connectivity services held by their operators, can support consumers navigate the telecoms market and helping them to identify and secure better deals.
Currently, the telecoms market can be complicated, requiring time and technical knowledge to properly understand different providers’ offers and how they best suit people’s usage and connectivity needs – resulting in low switching rates, and so-called ‘loyalty penalties’ for customers out of contract but paying more than necessary for the service they use.Government is taking action with this new consultation on plans that would use upcoming Smart Data powers, which could require telecoms companies to provide detailed, personalised, interoperable information to their customers about things such as price, download speeds and data usage, and allow customers – on request and with consent – to share their data with authorised third parties, such as price comparison websites or other tech companies.
This kind of Open Communications scheme could enable customers to compare offers from different providers and find the deals that best suit their needs and budgets – removing the need for technical knowledge or time-consuming searches – while also supporting competition within the telecoms market.
It could also help businesses and innovators to develop new products, from comparison tools to bill management services – and could be used in conjunction with other services, including open banking, to offer cross-sector support for vulnerable people or offer more personalised deals that fit individual circumstances.
The consultation will run for eight weeks until Monday 13 November and can be accessed online here [link to consultation].
The responses to the consultation will help shape plans about how such a scheme could be introduced and implemented. It is open to all, and responses are particularly welcomed from telecoms industry stakeholders and consumer groups.
Minister for Data and Digital Infrastructure John Whittingdale said:
“Navigating broadband and mobile deals can be complex, and it’s sometimes difficult to know which deals are best for your connectivity needs.
“That’s why we’re setting out proposals for a smart data scheme that could give customers more access to information about their usage, helping them better understand the deals on offer.”
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