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How do I switch broadband provider?

How do I switch broadband provider?

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Last updated: 25 October 2021

It might seem like a hassle to switch internet providers, and easy to assume that they all offer similar products.

New Ofgem regulations introduced in June 2015 have made it easier than ever to switch and comparison websites help you to see the different options available to you. We have put together a quick guide to walk you through the process:

Quick guide - How to switch broadband provider

Step 1: Compare broadband deals available in your area

Enter your postcode below to see what internet packages are available at your postcode.

Step 2: Compare broadband packages available to you

Go through the different packages available and pick the one you think is best for you.

Step 3: Pick a deal and sign up

Once you have found your ideal broadband package, click on it and fill in the necessary information on the provider's website.

Enter your postcode to find deals near you

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Should I switch my broadband provider?

This all depends on your current internet package and circumstances.

Better technology has become available

With the technology supplying the internet to your household always improving, you might now be able to get a faster connection at your household compared to when you started with your current broadband provider.

It is worth checking the deals available near you to see if new superfast fibre or gigabit internet has become available at your exchange.

Introductory rates have lapsed

Another thing to keep in mind is introductory rates; many ISPs offer a lower price for the length of your contract with them, but when the contract ends you will switch to a more expensive rolling contract rate.

If this has happened to you it is worth either speaking with your current provider to renew your contract at a lower rate, or switch your broadband to a new provider.

It doesn't take very long to find a new deal, and the savings you can make can be significant!

Can I switch internet provider if I’m in a contract?

You will never be stopped from switching broadband provider; even if you’re in a contract you can still change to a company of your choosing. 

However, if you switch when you are in contract you may face a termination fee which in some cases can be quite hefty. It’s always worth checking how much the fee is in relation to your savings to see if it’s an economical decision. 

There are instances where you will be able to switch mid-contract without a cancellation fee, for example if your bills have increased more than inflation, if your broadband provider is in a breach of contract, and sometimes if your internet is not matching the minimum speeds that were advertised when you took out the contract.

What should I look out for when switching broadband provider?

  1. Price - This is usually the most important factor to people. We recommend you look at the price for the contract as a whole, including any sign up fees and connection costs. To make this simpler for you, at usave we display all these to our users after you pop your postcode in.
  2. Speed - The speed, or bandwidth, of your connection will dictate how smooth your internet access will be. The higher the speed, the smoother the connection. For more details on what speed you should get, check out our guide what broadband speed do I need?
  3. The length of the contract - Most contracts are either 12 months, 18 months, or 24 months. If you are looking for something more short term some suppliers offer 30-day rolling no contract broadband.
  4. Incentives - Some providers offer free gifts and vouchers if you sign up with them. These can sometimes be pretty good too, providers like BT and Plusnet regularly offering reward cards with values of £70 to £100! To see a list of some of these great deals, see our broadband deals with free gifts page.

Which provider should I switch to?

This depends on what you’re looking for. BT and Virgin are the most commonly available and will be able to offer maximum speeds of 300 Mpbs in a lot of areas and so can seem like the obvious option. A lot of people don’t need such high connection speeds however so it’s always worth scouting around for best broadband deals in your area as a lot of smaller companies will be able to offer more suitable speeds at a more competitive rate.

This isn’t to say the smaller companies can’t keep up however. Hyperoptic are now delivering speeds of up to 1Gbps in some select areas for as little as £49 a month for the first year. So, if you’re a real speed freak then you might want to keep an eye out for this one.

How long will the broadband switching process take?

Choosing your new broadband provider will take a matter of minutes, however the switch over from your old company to your new company will take a little longer. There is no set amount and it will vary from company to company, however a general rule is around the 2-week mark.

Am I allowed to keep my email address when I switch broadband provider?

This will depend entirely on the broadband provider you were with initially. Different companies have different policies when it comes to this. For example, BT and Sky will allow you to keep your email even after you switch, whereas Virgin Media and Talk Talk will give you 3 and 12 month respectively before deleting it. Always make sure you double check with your provider to avoid any email agony.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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