FAQs

If you have a question please email us. We will seek to answer questions through postings on this FAQ page rather than by responding directly to your e-mail.

General FAQs

General FAQs

Am I affected by the new regulations?

The new regulations cover all retailers of fixed voice or broadband services.  Providers serving residential customers must follow the One Touch Switch (OTS) process. Providers serving business customers must also follow a gaining provider-led switching process, and the OTS process may be agreed for simple (single line) business switches.  The process for multi-line switches is still subject to industry discussion.  You should familiarise yourself with the regulations to decide whether you are affected. If you are not sure whether you are affected we suggest you seek appropriate advice. If you are a member of an industry association they may be able to help.

When do the new regulations take effect?

The regulations take effect on 3rd April 2023. TOTSCo considers it unlikely that OTS will be fully ready on this date, as not only does the Hub development need to be completed, but providers will have to modify their own processes and extensive end-to-end testing will be required. TOTSCo has raised these issues with Ofcom. TOTSCo will keep stakeholders that have registered fully informed of our plan and the timetable for launch.

What should we be doing to prepare for OTS?

You should understand your obligations under Ofcom’s revised General Conditions. You should consider how you may have to modify your processes and systems to comply with the Industry Process (now available to view on the TOTSCo website), including the generation and sending of Switching Information.  It is recommended that you should also review the API specification (available on the TOTSCo website) to better understand how you will interface with the TOTSCo Hub. These measures can be taken even before TOTSCo releases further details about the onboarding process and timetable.

Why do I need to register with TOTSCo?

To comply with the new regulations, providers will need to interface with the TOTSCo Hub. By registering, you will receive the most up-to-date information about how to do this and other technical and commercial information about the TOTSCo Hub.

Do I need to become a member of TOTSCo to use the Hub?

No, you do not need to become a member of TOTSCo in order to use the Hub.

For more information on membership please visit our membership page.

Will there be a cost to using the TOTSCo Hub?

Yes. TOTSCo is a not-for-profit organisation that will cover its costs through making charges to the Providers who use the TOTSCo Hub. The structure and amount of these charges has not yet been determined. By registering as a potential user you will receive updates on pricing as and when they are available.

How can I find out more about the TOTSCo Hub?

The best way to ensure that you stay up to date is to register on this website, to receive the latest news and updates as they become available. Please look at the links  to see more about the regulatory changes, and the progress so far on designing the TOTSCo Hub. You will also find relevant documentation uploaded to our Resources page as it becomes available.

My company does not plan to use APIs to link its systems directly to the TOTSCo Hub. What is the alternative?

Where CPs choose not to connect directly to the TOTSCo Hub using an API, they will need to communicate via a solution that provides its own API link. TOTSCo is consulting on the nature of this solution and the best way to ensure that it is available.

What will TOTSCo do to detect and prevent abuse by CPs, e.g. by engaging in Slamming, or by not using the Hub?

Hub users will sign up to a fair-use policy, which will provide a degree of protection against abuse. However, TOTSCo is not responsible for enforcement of the General Conditions.

How will prices and other conditions for use of the TOTSCo Hub be established?

The TOTSCo board will ultimately decide the pricing structure and other conditions for use of the TOTSCo Hub. TOTSCo board members are drawn from all sectors of the industry and are obliged by TOTSCo’s Articles of Association to consider the interests of all Hub users in reaching their decisions.

How is TOTSCo funded?

TOTSCo in its initial phases is funded by loans from BT, Sky, Vodafone and VMO2. The loans are provided on commercial terms and TOTSCo’s Board of Directors took independent legal advice. The loans will be used to fund the Hub development costs and TOTSCo’s administration and management costs until the Hub is operational, after which time usage fees will be used to fund running costs and to repay the loans.

When are the next elections for Directors of TOTSCo?

The current Directors of TOTSCo were appointed in June 2022. Three Director positions, from the Business, Small Retail Provider and Large Retail Provider constituencies respectively, are due for election in December 2023. Elections for the remaining Director positions will be held in June 2025.

How can I offer suggestions or make my views known?

Trade associations including ISPA, INCA, CCUK and FCS have been involved in the design of the One Touch Switching process, which will drive the specification of the TOTSCo Hub. Minutes of the Switching Group have been circulated to industry representatives and such information will in future also be available to those registering on this site. Appropriate mechanisms for comment and feedback will also be offered, for example by membership of the Stakeholder Forum.

Clinic Q&As

These questions were raised by industry representatives during TOTSCo clinics, established to discuss technical and operational areas.

Clinic FAQs

It's common for small providers to use a third party for their services, in this situation how should the switch work as the transaction is 3-party rather than 2-party?

The regulations for switching put the responsibility on the reseller to perform the switch. If your name is on the bill then you are the customer point of contact to capture and process the switch regardless of the supply chain involved. The documentation and associated process flows shows how this will work.

Will there be a message from the hub, to the GRCP if the customer decides not to switch after receiving their summary docs?

If the customer changes their mind about switching, a cancellation message can be sent from the GRCP to the LRCP.

How do I direct questions to TOTSCo regarding the documentation?

We are answering questions directly and coordinating one to one sessions with providers where necessary. Requests for extended consultations can be sent to enquiries@totsco.org.uk.

What happens if the LRCP is unable to find a match at all?

A message is sent by the LRCP To the GRCP to inform them that the match was not successful.

How are messages validated if you don't read or validate the messages through the hub?

The JSON message will validated by each receiver, but the JSON message type has been speficially selected for its ease of validation.

What about consumption of API if spreadsheets are being used by smaller enterprises, how would they get the switch request in the first place?

If you aren’t fully automated or partially automated, it may not be such a smooth consumer experience. There are portal services e.g CPS around that do have some capability.

If a losing provider sends nuisance messages how would you get it resolved?

The hub does not validate/read the messages, so this would be for the losing and gainer provider to discuss. The message types and response codes have been published and we urge providers to buddy up and test messages using a test harness.

Where is the industry process available for download?

The Industry Process documentation, along with other useful documents, is available on the resources page of the TOTSCo website.