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.
Image source: broadbandanalyst.co.uk
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.