1. Guides
  2. Household Bills
  3. Broadband & TV
  4. How to switch broadband providers

How to switch broadband providers

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 10th February 2021

If you are thinking about switching your broadband provider, Latest Deals is here to help you! Read our full guide to everything you need to know about switching broadband providers. With our tips and advice, you will be able to get the best broadband deal at the best price.

In this guide
Image

Why should I switch broadband provider?

The first and most important reason is to get a better broadband deal. A deal that fits all your needs and is within your budget. Learn here how to choose the best broadband deal for you. 

The second reason is that after the first year of a broadband contract, the price usually goes up. Switching is the only option to be able to spend the same amount of money or even start saving on this household bill. 

Other reasons could be that you are not happy with your current broadband provider service. Or, you are moving to an address that your current provider doesn't provide service to.

Switching broadband providers is much easier than you think and this guide is here to help. 

Pros and cons of switching broadband provider

Image

If you are 100% happy with your broadband provider (service and price) there is no reason for you to switch. However, you could potentially save money when you switch to another provider. 

Things can change over the years. Broadband providers are always working to improve their packages and make them more accessible to more people. 

Pros of switching broadband provider

  • You can potentially pay less for better broadband speed. 
  • You can get reward cards and cashback. 
  • You can get access to more services (broadband plus cable TV and home phone) for the same price or less than you are paying now. 

Cons of switching broadband provider

  • You might need to receive an engineering visit, especially if you are switching to Virgin Media.
  • You can potentially spend more money at the beginning to save in the long run. 
  • You will need to deal with the hassle of returning your old broadband provider router. 

Can I switch broadband providers during the contract?

Image

Yes, you can switch broadband providers during the contract. When you sign up for a new deal, you receive a contract. Usually, these contracts are 18 to 24 months long. Sometimes broadband providers give you a minimum commitment of a year. 

You need to check with your new broadband provider if that’s the case as this changes depending on your provider’s policy. If that’s the case, you know that after 12 months, you are free to reach out to another provider. If that’s not that case, you’ll have to stay for the full 18 to 24 months or pay an early exit fee for leaving.

If you want to leave before these time frames, you are very likely going to have to pay a termination or an early exit fee. These fees are calculated according to your situation, some customers will pay more than others and vice-versa. 

The only way to leave a provider early and without a penalty is if your broadband speed is slower than that guaranteed to you. This is protected by Ofcom regulations, and you can use its website to check if your broadband speed is slower than should be. 

You can also leave your new broadband provider during the first 14 days to 31 days of contract depending on your broadband provider’s policy. This is called cooling off period. Sky gives you 31 days to make a decision to stay or leave, which it’s a differential when compared to other providers.

When you sign up for a new broadband service, you need to ask for a guaranteed broadband speed for both download and upload. Make sure you complain about lower speeds every time they happen. This is the only way to secure your broadband customer rights.

In the meantime, you can either wait for your contract to expire or leave early. If you don't have any problems with your service, you will need to pay a termination fee. If you have been experiencing problems with your broadband for a while, you can fight for your right to leave without paying anything. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: BT gives you £20 refund if you are experiencing a broadband speed lower than the guaranteed one. If you have low broadband speeds, you can try 20 ways to boost your broadband speed. We recommend trying these first and then reaching out to your broadband provider if things don’t change. 

How much does switching broadband providers cost?

Image

It depends on your old contract and your new contract. 

If you have to pay for the termination fee, you need to take this into account. You also need to pay for your last old broadband provider's bill and make sure you return your old router without a problem to avoid charges.

Then, you need to consider the fees from your new provider: 

  • If you are paying for setting-up and activation fees.
  • If you are paying for a new router.
  • If you need to receive an engineer at your home address.
  • How much the first bill is. 

Make sure you write down all these details when evaluating if the switch is worth it or not. 

Do I need to cancel my broadband before switching broadband providers?

Image

This is a big concern when people are thinking about switching broadband providers. If you decide to switch, your new broadband provider is obligated to do the switch for you. You just need to choose a new broadband provider and they will do all the work for you. You usually receive all communication between providers via email, so you can stay in the loop.

What if your new broadband provider doesn't make the switch for you?

This shouldn't happen, and you can complain about it. But, if you are willing to switch yourself, it’s not complicated. 

First, call your new broadband provider and ask for the exact date that you will have your new internet connection. 

Second, call your old broadband provider and cancel your deal from the exact date your new deal starts. 

Broadband Provider Telephone Numbers 

To make it easier for you, we have listed some of the broadband providers telephone numbers: 

What is One-Touch Switch for Broadband?

The one-stop switch is a program created by Ofcom to help broadband customers in the UK. 

The program makes it easier for customers to switch broadband providers. It forces broadband providers to take care of the entire switch process for their customers. 

All broadband customers that use Openreach telecoms networks can participate in this programme. Broadband providers such as BT, Sky, EE, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Plusnet make the switch for their customers. Virgin Media does not use Openreach telecoms networks, but nowadays the company is also making it easier to switch. Just make sure you ask for their help.

Where can I get the best deal on broadband?

Image

The best deal on broadband will change from person to person. 

First, you need to find out what type of internet user you and the people in your household are. Then you will know what broadband speed you need. Latest Deals has a full guide on how to choose the best broadband deal for you. By reading this article you will have the tools to make a choice.

Once you have made your decision, we have another guide for you, How to get cheap broadband: 10 tips to haggle broadband. By reading this other article you will be able to negotiate a better deal with your chosen broadband provider.

Who is the best broadband provider?

There isn’t one best broadband provider, but there is the best broadband provider for you. The first thing to keep in mind is that you are not going to have access to all broadband providers in the UK. You need to see what is available on your postcode. You can check it using Switchly, for example. 

After you see what you can get, make a decision about what is the best broadband provider for you. One that provides its service at your address that has a good internet speed and that is within your budget.

In the article, Everything you need to know about fibre broadband, we talk more about fibre broadband. There, we have analysed which are the cheapest and most expensive broadband providers. You can also find the best fibre broadband deal and provider there. 

How to switch broadband when changing address

Image

Switching broadband when moving house can be stressful, so follow these steps:

  • If your current broadband provider is available at your new address, you need to let them know you are moving. They need from 15 days to a month as notice period. You may be charged a fee, depending on your situation. This is another question to keep in mind when deciding on a broadband deal: what happens if I need to move address during my contract? 
  • If your current broadband provider is not available at your new address, you will need to find another provider. If your contract is not expired, you will need to pay the early exit fee. If your contract is expired, you are free to cancel. 

9 Tips for switching your broadband provider 

Image

TIP #1 Compare broadband providers

The most powerful tool you have when it comes to broadband providers is to compare. The more you learn how to compare deals, the better deal you can get for yourself. 

Even if you already have a broadband provider you are happy with, you never know what the next one has to offer until you check them out. 

Keep your eyes open, broadband is a competitive market in the UK and you are a valuable potential customer. 

TIP #2 Don’t get a contract for more than 18 months if possible 

The ideal contract is one year because you have enough time to try something out at the same time you can get rid of it if needed. If it’s possible, choose a 12-month contract.

TIP #3 Don’t get less or more than you need 

This is a common mistake, where people get less or more broadband speed than they really need. Check out this article to find out the exact broadband speed you need. 

TIP #4 Bundles can be an opportunity to save money while getting access to more services 

Sometimes bundles can help you save money. Some broadband providers give you free home phones with their plans. Other broadband providers can give you free broadband with their cable TV packages. Check for bundles when you know you will make the most of it. 

TIP #5 Always have a budget 

The most important thing is to have a budget. You must know how much money you are willing to spend with your broadband. In the UK, a fibre broadband package costs on average £35 per month. 

TIP #6 Don’t forget to read about customer service 

Customer service ratings are important, especially when it comes to haggling. You need support from the customer service team before, during and after your new broadband installation. Besides reading about broadband providers’ customer service ratings, you can try to call them and see how the service is. If they don’t treat you well, you know that is not the best provider to work with. 

TIP #7 Do your research 

When you don’t know much about one subject it can be overwhelming to make a decision, but the more you research about it, the easier it becomes. You can use our guides to learn more about fibre broadband and how to make better choices to save money on your household bills. 

TIP #8 Read the small print 

The small print is the most important part of a contract and the easiest to get ignored. Broadband providers know this. They want to keep important information from you, information that is usually related to extra charges and fees. 

It’s very annoying, but it’s even more frustrating to spend unnecessary money because you didn't read the whole contract. Take your time and read it all properly.

TIP #9 Take advantage of discounts, gifts, vouchers and other offers

If you are planning to switch broadband providers, you can take advantage of discounts, gifts, vouchers and other offers. Here at Latest Deals, we post the best deals from most broadband providers:

Step-by-step process to switch broadband providers 

Image

Follow this step-by-step process to switch broadband providers and you will have a smooth experience. Check them out below: 

Step 1 — Check when your current broadband contract expires

Step number one is to check your broadband contract. Try to avoid any extra fees. Most broadband contracts in the UK are 18 to 24 months long. You might have some more power to negotiate to leave after one year of the contract. 

Since February 2020, Ofcom has announced that broadband providers must tell their customers: 

  • When the contract expires.
  • What the price change is after the contract expires. 
  • What the notice period for leaving is. 
  • What the best deals currently available are. 

These pieces of information will be sent 40 days before the termination date. This can help you to make a better decision to stay or to leave your current broadband provider. 

Step 2 — Check what is the best broadband deal for you — the correct speed at the best price 

Even if you are not 100% sure about switching broadband providers, you want to keep your eyes open to what is available out there. Step number two is to check what is the best broadband deal for you. 

There are so many websites that compare broadband deals that it can be overwhelming. The best way to compare is to see what you can get at your home address and what is the best speed you can get at a cheaper price. To calculate the price, you need to see how much the plan will cost you over a year. Make sure you also check the broadband customer service ratings. 

Step 3 — Compare your broadband provider’s options and make a decision 

When you have all the necessary information and the number laid out on the table, it’s time to compare and make a decision. If you want to be extra organised, you can even create a spreadsheet as we did in this article. This will allow you to filter the information and see what provider can give you the internet speed you need at the best price. So step number three is to analyse all your options taking into account every detail about the deals. Make sure you take the time to do this. 

Step 4 — Contact the broadband provider you want to switch to 

Step number four is to contact the broadband provider you want to switch to. When you are switching broadband providers, you will need to contact the new provider to make sure you have all your questions answered. We have gathered some frequently asked questions about this matter below. You don’t want to be caught by surprise and have any unexpected problems in the future. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you contact the broadband provider make sure you ask if they make the switch with your old provider. Then you are 100% sure you won't need to do anything else. 

Step 5 — Sign up to a new broadband contract

Only when you have no more questions and are 100% right about your decision to switch, you can move on to step number five. When you sign up for a new broadband contract, your new provider will ask if you are coming from another provider and will make the switch for you. 

Step 6 — Get your old provider to set up the switch — it’s their responsibility

Then comes step number six, where you will be receiving communication between old and new providers to follow up with the switch. From the date you sign up for your new broadband deal to the date you actually have your new internet service, you can expect a time frame of 10 working days. During this time, you can stay updated via email with both communications from your old and new broadband provider. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you need to make the switch yourself, you just need to call your old broadband provider and ask for a termination. If you'd like to have more control over your things, you can take some time to call your old broadband provider and let them know you are leaving. This can be even more important if you want to set up a termination date. 

Step 7 — Pay your final bill with the old provider, or get a refund if you’re in credit

Remember, even if you have a new broadband provider, you still need to make sure you have no more responsibilities regarding your old provider. 

Step number seven is to make sure you pay everything you owe to your old provider or receive any refunds if you have paid for your broadband plan in advance. 

This is very important as you don’t want to have any pending bills or even worse starting a debt. 

FAQ

Image
What do you think of this?
We use cookies (e.g. personalisation, analytics, social media). Find out more.