/*updated after comments*/
To continue the string of Dutch broadband news: the most traditional Dutch consumer rights organization (Consumentenbond) is fast developing into a digital rights advocacy group. After the day before yesterday's bombshell that Dutch DSL ISPs come nowhere near the advertised download speeds, Consumentenbond has started targeting switching costs.
In a press release circulated yesterday, the consumer rights group presents its own research on the difficulties consumers run into when switching ISPs. The results of the qualitative study that Consumentenbond has run confirms anecdotal evidence that many of us are familiar with: close to 35% of the respondents reported being cut off the Internet from one to over five days when switching. Switching between DSL providers resulted in the longest interruptions. Moreover, 64% of respondents had no idea that ISPs had 'switching services' in place that should make switching easy.
These switching services were the result of a self-regulatory agreement between the ISPs and the Ministry of Economic affairs in 2008. This agreement also stated that switching ISPs for 95% of consumers should not lead to interruptions of Internet connectivity for more than 24 hours. This promise was clearly not met. The Ministry has already signaled its annoyance with the ISPs' behavior.
Personally, I'm pleased and somewhat surprised that Consumentenbond is being so vocal on Internet matters. My perception of this organization—illustrated by the life-long membership of my grandparents—is a somewhat dull and leftish consumer union in the business of testing vacuum cleaners. Consumentenbond seems to be renewing itself into an all-round public interest group fit for this day and age, which is to be applauded. Wonder what they come up with next.