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How can I switch broadband provider?

Switching to another broadband provider is easy. Our guide shows you how to switch while avoiding penalty charges and other possible pitfalls.

Looking to switch broadband provider? If you’ve been with your current broadband provider for a while, it’s a wise decision to shop around. You might be looking to switch broadband to save money or because you’re looking for a faster broadband service. Or, you could be looking for a broadband service that allows you to ditch your landline. Whatever the reason, there are a few simple steps to switch broadband provider.

Can I switch broadband provider?

Switching broadband is simple, but before you switch check the terms of your existing contract. Broadband contracts tend to last a while and terminating early means you could incur penalties. So, you’ll have to give your provider the necessary notice in order to ensure you can switch without unwanted penalties and to arrange a date to cancel your account. It’s a good idea to contact your current provider to make sure you’re free to switch.

There may be times when you can switch early without incurring a termination fee. Examples could include: if your provider introduced a price hike within the past 30 days, particularly if the increase is more than the rate of inflation; if you’re not receiving fast enough broadband speeds; or if you believe your provider has otherwise breached your broadband contract. You can also cancel if your contract started less than 14 days ago, as you’re allowed a cooling-off period, but you’ll need to cancel in writing.

It’s worth checking with your current provider first to see if it will offer you a better deal on your broadband. If it won’t, and any savings offset cancellation charges, you may still want to switch within contract.

Compare broadband prices before switching

Always compare broadband prices before switching. Providers typically include any landline costs within their headline prices. However, broadband tariffs will vary according to speed. Do you really need super-fast broadband? Are multiple people using broadband at the same time? Do you only need broadband or do you want a bundled deal, which includes TV, too?

Work out what speed you need

Speed is a critical consideration when choosing your broadband package. Speeds will vary according to how far you are from the exchange. Fibre optic broadband delivers broadband over plastic or glass fibre cables promising much faster broadband speeds.

So, should you fork out for fast fibre-optic broadband? If you’re a big household or stream a lot of video or music, play online games or regularly download large files then you’re probably looking at super-fast broadband. Most broadband providers have a postcode checker on their websites so you can check if it’s available in your area.

Limited vs unlimited plans

Many broadband packages have unlimited packages, so (assuming reasonable usage) you can download as much as you want without hitting a cap and incurring extra charges. To choose a limited package, you’d want to be using the Internet a limited amount, maybe an hour or so each day to browse the web, but no video streaming, music streaming or online gaming. You might save money with a capped or limited broadband package but it’s unlikely to save you much and we’d recommend unlimited broadband for peace of mind.

You can buy other services with a broadband package

Bundled deals, which include TV and landline, are available from a range of providers. You may be able to save money by bundling TV and broadband together.

Those who like to chat should shop around for broadband and landline packages.

How to switch broadband provider

Once you’ve chosen a broadband provider to switch to, the process can be straightforward – in many cases, you won’t need to contact the provider you want to leave in order to cancel. Your new provider should let your existing provider know you’re moving (but do check with your current provider, if you’re in any doubt).

You’ll typically receive notification emails or letters from both confirming the switch. You may be asked you for some additional details from your new provider to help to set up your account with them. Once your existing account is closed off and any final payments settled, you can then cancel all Direct Debits to your old provider.

If you’re switching between cable networks, you may need to cancel with your old provider and contact the new provider to switch. You should try to coordinate a date for switching with both providers, to ensure you’re disconnected for the minimum possible time.

Possible pitfalls of switching broadband: Email accounts and landline numbers

Switching should be simple but there are a couple of things to watch out for. If you have an email account with your current provider, find out what will happen when you switch. If it’s going to be deleted, back up your emails to a free webmail account such as Gmail or Outlook.

Staying in your current home and switching? Your current provider should transfer your landline number to the new provider. However, you may want to check this with your new provider in order to avoid any nasty surprises.

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