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How do I switch broadband provider?

How do I switch broadband provider?

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Last updated: 08 August 2023

It might seem like a hassle to switch internet providers, but it is actually pretty straightforward with usave!

Read on to find out how to switch broadband provider.

Quick guide - How to switch broadband provider

Step 1: Enter your details

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

Step 2: Compare broadband deals available in your area

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 then order the broadband service from the provider's website. Once you have done this, your new provider will begin the process of setting up the new broadband connection to your address.

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. However, judging by the habits of millions of people in the UK, it’s quite likely you’re due an upgrade.

According to Which?, almost half (46%) of UK households have never switched their broadband provider, with more than a quarter of those saying they think it will be too much of a hassle. So, if you’re one of the millions of people that haven’t switched their broadband in at least two years, then the following reasons for switching most probably apply to you:

Better technology has become available

The rollout of full fibre broadband has been gathering pace in recent years, and this type of superfast, reliable internet connection is now available to around 42% of UK households compared to just 6% five years ago, according to Ofcom. Gigafast-capable broadband, which can provide incredible download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps, is also becoming available to more and more homes across the country.

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.

Most broadband contracts last for either 12, 18, or 24 months, so if you haven’t switched in two years or more, it’s quite likely that you’re paying expensive, out-of-contract rates.

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.

Do I need to cancel my internet before switching?

This depends.

If you are with an Openreach supplier and are switching to another Openreach supplier, you will not need to cancel your current internet contract. This will be managed by your new supplier.

The following companies supply internet via Openreach:

On the other hand, if you are changing from Openreach supplier to a non-Openreach supplier, or the other way around, or you are switching from one proprietary provider to another, you will need to cancel your current internet plan.

The following suppliers do not supply internet via Openreach, but via their own cables:

If you are switching to/from one of the above suppliers, make sure you have some overlap over when your old connection ends and your new connection begins; you don't want to be without an internet connection for an extended period of time!

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 two of the most commonly available providers, but they aren't always the best value.

Other providers like Sky, TalkTalk, and NOW are quite commonplace, and offer good value deals, sometimes with additional extra's like TV and unlimited call packages.

So once again, it really depends on the speed you need and if you are looking for any extras.

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.

How long will the broadband switching process take?

Changing broadband provider usually takes a couple of weeks to complete, but this largely depends on the provider you are switching to, and whether you need any additional engineering work done.

If you contact your new provider after you have completed the online sign up process, they will be able to give you a better idea of how long it will take to complete.


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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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