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How to switch broadband providers
Looking to change internet providers? Here are 4 simple steps to make it easier.
Switching to another Internet Service Provider (ISP) might seem like a daunting process, but it really isn’t.
This guide includes four steps that are designed to take the confusion out of the process. It considers aspects such as keeping your existing phone number and email address, or ensuring that you don’t temporarily lose your Internet connection during the transition. It also takes into account those who find themselves needing to switch from ADSL or VDSL, to a fibre connection.
Before you leave your broadband provider
There are a couple of things to check before you cut ties with your current provider:
- Ongoing contracts. Some long-term contracts will charge a fee if you leave early.
- Other costs. Even without a contract, some companies may charge you for leaving early.
- Consider negotiating. While success from negotiation isn’t guaranteed, if you’re unhappy with the value of your broadband plan, consider contacting your current provider first before switching. Come to them with a comparable plan and ask if they’ll match it or give you a good deal otherwise. Be prepared to go ahead and disconnect if they won’t, though.
Step 1: Choose your new broadband plan
With all of the broadband plans and providers currently on the market, it can feel pretty overwhelming to actually make a choice. A good approach is to focus on your reasons for switching. Do you want:
A better deal?
Not all broadband plans are created equal. Even if two plans are offering the same speed for the same price, there will still be something that separates them. One provider may have a faster typical speed, offer entertainment features like a streaming service subscription, or have something else to attract you.
A cheaper price?
Bear in mind you can also save some money by searching for a plan that doesn’t require you to buy a new modem or pay activation/set-up fees.
Although it can be somewhat difficult to evaluate the trustworthiness or service quality of a particular provider, it’s not impossible. Advice from friends can help, or online reviews on sites like TrustPilot or Product Review. Always use common sense and caution with online reviews. Some reviewers may have been offered a financial incentive or they could be Internet trolls.
Settle on what speed you need for your broadband. It may be tempting to go for the fastest option, but you may not need it and picking a slower plan will likely save you money.
One thing to note here is to make sure that your property can support the speeds that you’re after. The connection technology (fibre, VDSL, wireless, and so on) you have will determine the speeds that you can access.
Compare broadband plans
Step 2: Keeping your email and phone number
If you’ve been with your ISP for a long time, you might have an email service tied to your provider. If this is true, you should transfer your current emails and contacts across to a third-party generic email service such as Gmail or Outlook. You’ll need to do this before you make the switch, otherwise, you might lose your emails and contact information.
Similarly, if you have a landline number that you want to bring across, be sure to notify your new provider that you wish to port your number over before switching. The new number will be a voice over IP (VOIP) service rather than a traditional landline, which is often the case when switching from ADSL to a fibre connection.
Be aware that you will need to keep the landline active until the port process has been completed after which the old landline and associated rental fee charges will cease.
Step 3: Avoid downtime and settle old accounts
The downtime for customers transferring between ISPs using the fibre service transfer process can be very minimal.
However, transferring from an ADSL service to fibre will take more time as this will require a technician to come out to your premises to connect fibre from the street to your home. That doesn’t mean you will need to go offline while you’re waiting, though, as you can keep your existing service running up until your appointment date. Your new service provider will arrange the appointment for you and the billing period will start from the day they connect you. However, you will need to cancel the old service yourself.
Ideally, you want to time the switch towards the end of your billing cycle, otherwise, you might be liable to pay an extra month’s worth of service from your old ISP.
Step 4: Checking your equipment
Many modems are ISP agnostic, which means that they can work with any provider as long as you’re not changing your connection technology (e.g. from ADSL to Fibre) – in which case you might need to upgrade. It’s best to check with your modem manufacturer directly to avoid any compatibility issues down the road.
ISPs generally bundle in a new modem with select plans or allow you to purchase one directly, so be sure to check if this is something that they include before making a trip to the store.
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