Switching Broadband Providers

GoCompare Man holding a tablet

Broadband prices are changing all the time, which means you could get a much better deal if you switch to a new provider.

But just how easy is it to switch broadband?

We’ll show you how simple switching broadband providers can be, as well as what to look out for when making the change.


Key points


Why switch broadband providers?

There are many reasons why you should consider switching broadband providers, including better service, faster speeds, and greater value for money.

If you’re at the end of your contract, you’ll probably be on a rolling deal with the offer you signed up to years ago - you can almost certainly find something better now.

Lots of broadband providers give new customers great deals, so it's worth switching every now and again.


How to switch broadband provider

To switch broadband, follow these easy steps:


1.   Check your contract

You should only switch your internet supplier when the minimum terms no longer apply. While you can technically switch broadband at any time, if you’re still under contract, you may have to pay a hefty cancellation fee.

Most providers will outline specific terms clearly in your contract, but you can always contact their customer service team to check.


2.   Use a comparison tool to see your options

Enter your details on a comparison tool, such as Go.Compare, to see what deals are available in your area.

You can then filter the results to find the right broadband provider for you.


3.   Pick your deal and switch

Once you’ve seen a deal that ticks all your boxes, simply pick a date that works for you and arrange to have your new broadband go live. An engineer visit may be necessary to set some things up.

Most of the time, your new provider will handle the switch from start to finish, including informing your current provider. You’ll also receive a brand-new router, either via post or when the engineer comes to install your new connection.


Switching broadband with ‘one touch’

It is also possible to switch broadband via Ofcom’s one touch’ switching process, depending on which network you’re with. Customers who use Openreach (which includes BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk) can take advantage of this service.

All you need to do as an Openreach customer is call your chosen new provider asking to switch. The new provider will then assume responsibility for switching broadband on your behalf.

Once the broadband switching process has started, you’ll receive written confirmation from your old and new providers. If you change your mind, you can always cancel the switch, which is usually free of charge if you’re within the cooling off period. However, if you cancel after this, fees will likely incur.

An added safeguard is that your providers will keep a record of your consent to switch broadband. This protects you against ‘slamming’, where your network provider is changed without your knowledge or permission.

Ofcom are planning to roll out an improved version of one touch in April 2023, which will also include cable and full-fibre customers. This means you’ll be able to swap from Openreach to Virgin Media, or Hyperoptic to Community Fibre. This’ll make switching even easier, no matter your network or broadband technology.


What to look for when switching broadband

If you plan on switching, here’s what you should look out for:


Speed

Remember to pick a broadband service that's fast enough for you - but don’t pay for more than you need.

Also, keep in mind that the advertised speed of your potential new internet provider is the maximum you could get - in reality, it may be considerably slower (especially during peak times).


Location

Keep in mind that where you live is a big factor in what you can get. For instance, your postcode may not support fibre broadband, so this option will be unavailable to you.

It’s vital that you compare deals based on your actual address, otherwise you might waste time and end up disappointed.

Discover great broadband deals in your area with our handy comparison tool.


Type of broadband

Before switching broadband provider, give some thought to the type of broadband your potential new network is offering.

In the UK, the most common types of fixed-line broadband are:

Different broadband types require different installation methods, and you’ll almost certainly find that one is more suitable for your home. You might prefer to switch to a broadband type that can be connected easily and with minimal disruption.


Download cap

When switching broadband, look out for caps that limit how much you can download.

If you exceed this limit, your broadband provider can ask you to either reduce your usage, or upgrade you to a more suitable (but more expensive) package.

You’ll probably also have to pay for your excess or, in extreme cases, your service could be suspended if you regularly exceed your limit.

Whether a capped package will save you money depends on the type of broadband user you are. If you regularly stream movies and play games, unlimited broadband is likely to be cheaper.


Contract length

Choose your contract length carefully as many providers will charge you for cancelling within the term or for moving house during it.

You may also want to check for hidden costs. Some broadband providers offering shorter contracts (less than 12 months) will charge you an exit fee if you cancel.

Back in 2016, regulator Ofcom made it so that customers can't be charged a fee for cancelling if their broadband provider raises prices unexpectedly. If your supplier does decide to increase their prices, they'll have to give you 30 days’ notice - if you then decide to switch, you won't be charged a penalty.


Additional charges

You will find when switching broadband provider that there are certain other charges that need to be factored into your budget, such as:

Always remember to check the small print of any new broadband contract for hidden costs. This information is crucial if one of your biggest concerns is price.


Extra bonuses

There are some broadband deals available that offer extra bonuses (like free gifts). These may include reward schemes, vouchers and even gadgets to suit your household or personal needs.

Try not to get blindsided by freebies, remember that a better broadband deal is your overall end goal with switching.

Other things to bear in mind when switching broadband provider include:


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