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How to switch broadband providers
Looking to change internet providers? Here are 4 simple steps to make it easier.
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The competitive nature of the broadband market means there’s always an opportunity to jump onto a new plan that is not only cheaper but offers faster speeds and more data per month.
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 switch broadband providers
First, ensure that you are out of contract with your existing ISP to avoid fees. Even if you’re on a month-to-month plan, be aware that these usually come with a 30-day notice period before you can cancel.
Step 1: Compare plans
If you haven’t yet decided on an ISP to switch to, have a look at plans from a range of different providers so you can find the best plan for your needs.
It’s important to remember that some ISPs charge a setup fee unless you agree to a long-term contract, so make sure you take that into account when doing the maths. Also look for any signup deals such as an account credit, discounted broadband for a period of time or a joining reward. You can find out more about how to review your options in our guide to comparing broadband deals.
Once you’ve decided on a plan, check with the provider in question to ensure they can provide a broadband service at your home address. Some ISPs don’t offer a phone service, so if you really need a landline, keep this in mind when doing your research.
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.
Depending on how the ISP is set up in your connectivity service area (CSA), you might be required to enter login credentials within the modem itself. Your ISP will advise if this is required or if there are any other settings within the modem that will need to be changed. These changes should be accompanied by a reboot of the modem to ensure that it switches over to your new ISP correctly.
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