You don’t need to put up with an overpriced, slow internet connection. These days, switching your internet is hassle-free and quicker than ever. Find out how easy it is to switch broadband providers, cut your bills and get a much faster, better service.
Why should I switch broadband?
For most people, the two main considerations are connection speed and cost. Did your broadband provider give you a discounted rate for the first year but then after that your price went up? Maybe you’re tearing your hair out because your download speed can’t keep up with your TV viewing habits. If so, you could easily upgrade to faster broadband. Or perhaps your current plan only lets you download a certain amount of data and you want to change to unlimited broadband instead.
If any of this sounds familiar it’s time to reconsider your options and look for a better deal. Not only is the whole switching process much more straightforward than it used to be, home broadband availability and connection speeds have also improved enormously in recent years. However, according to an Ofcom report from May 2019 2018, despite all these changes a huge number of households are still paying for slow internet when they could have a better service at no extra cost.
How much do I save when I switch?
Depending on your circumstances, you could save £5-£25 a month (£60-£300 a year) when you change broadband providers.Keep an eye out for different tricks to cut your bills; for instance, it often works out cheaper in the long run to pay line rental upfront for a year instead of paying every month.
Broadband bundles often include a phone service, so maybe you’re paying a few pounds a month extra for evening and weekend calls that you don’t really need. While you generally still need a landline to get a broadband plan, it's most likely that you don't actually use the phone any more.
For lots of people these days, making calls on the home phone is a thing of the past so cutting that add-on from your bill could save you even more. Replacing landline calls with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) could be a cheaper option to look out for when switching broadband.
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Switching broadband: step-by-step
- Think about what you need from your broadband service
What’s your typical household broadband usage? Do you want a bundle with phone calls and TV included? What about changing the type of broadband connection you’ve got; you can choose from ADSL, cable or fibre broadband? Is superfast fibre-optic broadband important for your household? Are you willing to commit to an 18-month or two-year contract to get a cheaper deal? Decide what you want and how much you can spend to get the best broadband for your home.
- Compare broadband packages
Keeping in mind the needs of your household and your budget, it’s essential to compare as many broadband deals as possible. When comparing broadband, the most important things for you are likely to be the monthly cost, length of contract and the average connection speed. Think about any set-up fees that you might have to pay too, especially if you need to have a new phone line installed or if you’re moving to or from cable broadband.
- How long does it take to switch broadband?
It depends on what you’re switching from and to, and sometimes it depends on your postcode. For most people it’s a straightforward switch between two providers on the same network (i.e. the former BT telephone network, now called Openreach); this takes a couple of weeks to get the paperwork done and then you switch over on a date that you agree with your new provider.
On the day of the switch, there will be between a few minutes and a couple of hours of interruption to your phone and internet service, but generally the whole process takes place seamlessly at the telephone exchange. All you have to do is plug in your new router and you’re up and running.
However, the switch might take longer for people who are moving between providers operating on two different networks, for instance, if you’re moving from Virgin Media cable broadband to fibre-optic broadband or vice versa. This is because you will need to have a visit from an engineer to install some equipment.
- Do I need to cancel my broadband before switching?
Once you’ve found the right package for you, at the right price, you can simply go ahead and sign up to the new provider. In most cases, you won’t even have to contact your old provider to tell them you’re leaving since your new broadband supplier does that for you. If you are switching from a bundle that includes a TV package check with your new supplier if you need to take responsibility for informing your old provider about your decision to move.
When your switch is to or from cable broadband you will need to contact your old provider to tell them you’re leaving and you will be able to agree on a suitable installation date with your new provider. Plan your cancellation date and installation date carefully to avoid leaving yourself without internet access during the changeover.
Switching while in contract
Switching broadband provider before the end of your contract usually means having to pay a cancellation fee to the provider you are leaving. The charge for leaving a broadband contract early is often over £100 so check the terms of your existing contract carefully before you switch, otherwise you might end up out of pocket.
In some cases you can avoid paying an early termination fee. You would need to demonstrate that there has been an unreasonable increase in the price of your service, or prove that the service provided is not up to scratch, for instance when the download speed is much slower than what was promised.
For more information about download speeds and upload speeds, see our guide to how to get the fastest broadband you need for your home.
Other things to consider when switching broadband
- Keeping your landline number
Keeping your landline number shouldn’t be a problem; just tell your new provider you want to keep your number and they will take care of it. They'll need to know what your number is, though, so have a quick read of our guide to finding your landline number before you start comparing broadband plans.
- Email accounts
Something else to think about is whether you want to hold onto any email accounts you have with your old provider. Depending on the provider, you might be able to keep your email account without having to do anything, some may charge a fee while others may delete your account.
- Right to cancel your broadband switch
If, for whatever reason, you change your mind about your new broadband deal, you have the right to cancel the new contract up to 14 days after you agree to the contract. This 'cooling-off' period is standard across the industry so you have the same right to cancel regardless of which internet service provider you switch to.
- Getting a better deal with your current broadband supplier
Your old provider doesn’t want to lose you as a customer. It’s worthwhile giving them a call to tell them you’re planning to change providers and they could offer you a better deal than the one you’re currently on, especially when they realise you’ve done your research and you know what else is on offer from other companies.
In that case, with minimal haggling and no fuss, you could land yourself a bargain. If they don’t come up with a cheaper deal for you, then you know what to do - get switching!
How to Easily Switch Your Broadband Internet Provider
Switching your broadband supplier has never been easier. Gone are the days of complicated codes and processes to switch over your connection, with most suppliers you don’t even need to contact anyone when you pick your chosen tariff. From receiving your confirmation email after you sign up, you could be up and running with your new supplier in as little as two weeks. Read through this article and find out exactly how you could switch your broadband deal.
What makes a good broadband deal?
First things first, you need to identify what makes a suitable broadband deal and why you should be switching in the first place. Certain aspects, such as download speed, upload speed, price, fibre optics, etc., can at first seem a little bit complicated, but we’re here to simplify that for you and make sure you get the best deal for your needs.
These are some of things that you should consider when thinking about switching your deal:
- Price: of course, you need to think about how much this is going to cost you. If you are a heavy user, you’ll likely be paying more for your connection. But if you don’t use your internet for strenuous tasks, then paying top dollar for the fastest internet speeds on the market doesn’t make a lot of sense.
- Download speed: The faster your download speed the better experience you will have online with things such as streaming videos, downloading music and movies, loading web pages, and so on; the higher your speed, however, the more it will cost, in general.
- Packages: Generally in the UK the most common package deal would be TV & broadband, which would mean signing up for a service such as Sky TV, BT TV or Virgin TV along with your broadband, this will give you a combined cost that will be much less than if you were to have the products separately.
- Landline: To have broadband, you need to pay line rental, which means having a landline, or at least the service ready for one. If you don’t use the landline, then having the most basic talk plan possible is what you’ll need.
Are there any costs involved with switching?
There are two main costs that could be associated with switching your broadband supplier, but if you are smart about it, you will not have to pay either. These two costs are: any exit fees associated with your current account; and any installation costs associated with the switch to your new supplier. Most suppliers do not charge installation fees, so this should not be an issue, but almost all suppliers charge exit fees, so switching mid-contract could make you subject to exit fees.
If you switch your broadband through Selectra, we will ensure that you don’t have to pay any installation fees and advise you as to how you can avoid any exit fees. It can be a little complicated, so by giving us a call, we’ll make sure you don’t pay anything upfront at all.
Will I need a new router?
Technically, in some cases, you do not need to switch router when you switch your provider; however, most routers that have been handed down by a supplier will be hard coded to their network. Meaning, for example, if you have a sky router and switch to BT, your old router will no longer be operational. However, if you have bought your own non-specific router, which can often perform better than standard routers, you can use them with almost any supplier.
With regards to the router that you currently have that was given to you by your old supplier, generally, if you have arrived at the end of your contract, your service provider will not require you to return it; however, if you leave mid-contract, it is possible that you will need to give this back.
Your new supplier will generally always send you a new router which you should connect when your contract begins with the new company. As mentioned before, however, you can generally use a non-company-specific router as well, if performance is your focus.
Fibre optic or regular cable
The difference between fibre optic and regular ADSL broadband lies within the cables that are used. It might sound a little complicated, but fibre optic broadband uses fibre optic cables to carry data and signals, rather than regular coaxial cables, which, although are faster than copper, which was used previously, is still much much slower than fibre optic.
Another major difference between fibre optic and cable, would be the real download speed vs the ‘up to’ speed advertised. Fibre optic will generally hold and slightly exceed this figure the large majority of the time, whereas it is very rare that cable will reach the ‘up to’ figure stated. When it comes to fast download speeds, you should always go with fibre optic.
What you do need to bear in mind, however, is that not all areas of the UK have fibre optic coverage. At present, we have an impressive 95% coverage; however, by 2020, the Government is hoping to reach 98% full coverage. 86% of these connections are currently provided by BT Openreach.
Do I need to cancel my old contract before switching?
This all depends on who you have your broadband with. Generally, the answer is no. But this only applies to companies that use the Openreach network, including BT, TalkTalk, Sky, EE and Plusnet. Companies such as Virgin Media, that have their own network, do require you to cancel your contract with them directly, and cannot be done by the company you’re signing up to. Below you will find a list of popular companies and whether or not you need to cancel your contract with them when you switch.
- BT - No cancellation needed
- Sky - No cancellation needed
- TalkTalk - No cancellation needed
- Plusnet - No cancellation needed
- EE - No cancellation needed
- Vodafone - No cancellation needed
- Virgin Media - Cancellation required
What is the length of a broadband contract?
Unlike with other utilities, such as energy, you will not be reverted to another tariff when your minimum term ends, you will just continue on the same plan until you decide to switch again. The most common minimum term for broadband contracts is 12 months; however, they range from anywhere between 1 month (usually comes with set up fees), to 3 years. We recommend that you stick to a one year deal. This gives you the flexibility to switch again in a year’s time if anything better becomes available. Usually, the smaller the term, the more expensive, and although some of the longer term deals are slightly cheaper, 3 years is a long time to be tied in if something better comes along.