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How to switch broadband providers

Looking for cheap broadband? Compare prices from top providers and get a great deal

Broadband prices tend to increase annually, and this sometimes happens mid-contract. Switching providers could give you a better broadband deal and faster speeds.

Whatever your reason for getting a new deal, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s now easier than ever to switch. This guide outlines everything you need to know about switching broadband providers.

Independent Advisor’s top deal

We’ve chosen this deal because it offers a balance of speed and affordability for the everyday user, with no upfront cost.

Plusnet – Full Fibre 145
Monthly Cost
£27.99
Average speed
145 Mb
Contract term
24 months

Price could rise by CPI+3.9% next April

Our top recommended broadband providers
Plusnet
Fast speeds & reliable customer service
Virgin Media
Ultrafast speeds at affordable prices
Vodafone
Perks for existing mobile customers
BT Broadband
The UK’s largest broadband provider

Step-by-step guide to switching broadband providers

Step 1: Check whether you can leave without fees

Check your contract end date. If you’re out of contract, you won’t need to pay a cancellation fee. If you’re still in contract and would like to switch, you’ll probably need to pay an early exit fee as well as the remaining months on your contract. Every provider has different terms and conditions, so you should contact your provider’s customer service team to find out what fees may apply to you.

Step 2: Compare broadband deals

Use our compare deals page to find the best broadband deals available for your postcode. You should compare several options to find the right one for you. Also consider each broadband provider’s reputation.

Before committing to a provider, consider these factors:

  • Broadband speeds
  • Cost of deal
  • Setup fees
  • Added extras

Step 3: Pick a deal and sign up

Once you’ve chosen your new deal, you can go ahead and sign the contract and choose a date for it to go live. You may need to arrange for a technician to visit if you require new wiring.

Step 4: Find out the next steps

In most instances, your new provider will handle the switch. This means you won’t need to let your old provider know you’re switching. However, if you’re switching to a provider that doesn’t use the Openreach network, such as Virgin Media, you may need to inform your old provider yourself.

Your old provider will inform you of any exit fees and explain how to return equipment. Your new provider will send your new router and setup instructions in the post.

Why should I switch broadband providers?

Switching to a new broadband provider could provide a better deal. When your current contract ends, your monthly fee will likely increase – most providers increase the price when your minimum term is up.

You might find faster broadband speeds elsewhere. Switching providers could improve your average internet speed and provide a more stable broadband connection.

Can I switch broadband providers if I’m still in contract?

You can switch broadband providers if you’re still in contract, but it’s not advisable.

Cancelling your contract early could result in a hefty exit fee. Your exit fee is typically based on the number of months left in your contract. You’ll also need to return any equipment; if you don’t, this could incur further fees.

If you’re switching because you’re not satisfied with the service, exit fees might be avoidable. Ofcom regulations state that if you’re not receiving the speeds you were promised, you can leave without paying an exit fee.

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Cancellation fees are just one of the charges you might be required to pay when switching while still in contract. There might also be fees for the following: 

 

  • Setup
  • New router and other equipment
  • Wifi boosters 
  • TV box if you have a broadband and TV deal
  • Installation

 

Different broadband providers have different fees. This is something you’ll want to consider before signing a new broadband contract.

How long does it take to switch broadband providers?

The timeframe for switching broadband providers is generally around two weeks.

There are a few factors that may influence this timeframe. If you don’t require any new wiring, the process will generally be faster. If you need a new phone line or you’re switching to Virgin Media, which has its own cable network, this could increase the timeframe.

If your current deal runs on the Openreach network and your new provider uses the same network, you can use “one-stop switch.” This means your new provider will arrange the switch for you. BT, Sky, EE, TalkTalk and Vodafone are some providers that use Openreach.

Switching broadband providers FAQs

Yes, you can keep your existing landline phone number when you switch providers. This is known as porting. It’s free to keep your existing landline number, but you need to inform your new provider that you want to do so. If you’ve already cancelled your previous broadband and phone service, you can still request to keep your old number as long as it’s within a month of cancelling.

Some broadband packages come with an email account, and whether you can keep this when you leave depends on your provider. You’ll either be able to keep the email address for a fee or the provider will delete the account when you switch. If the account is deleted, you can contact your provider to ensure you don’t lose any important emails.

You won’t go without an internet connection when switching if you schedule your new service’s start date before your old contract finishes. Ideally, you should install your new service before switching off your old one so that you don’t go without internet.

Most providers allow you to move your broadband to your new home, but they may charge you for this. Sometimes it’s not possible to move your broadband contract to your new home; if your current deal is not available at your new postcode, you may need to cancel it or switch deals.

rachel

Rachel Sadler

Home Tech Writer

Rachel is a seasoned writer who has been producing online and print content for seven years. 

As a home tech expert for Independent Advisor, Rachel researches and writes buying guides and reviews, helping consumers navigate the realms of broadband and home security gadgets. She also covers home tech for The Federation of Master Builders, where she reviews and tests home security devices. 

She started as a news and lifestyle journalist in Hong Kong reporting on island-wide news stories, food and drink and the city’s events. She’s written for editorial platforms Sassy Hong Kong, Localiiz and Bay Media. While in Hong Kong she attended PR events, interviewed local talent and project-managed photoshoots. 

Rachel holds a BA in English Language and Creative Writing and is committed to simplifying tech jargon and producing unbiased reviews.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.