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Switching broadband during coronavirus

The good news is that the majority of switches between broadband providers in the UK are unaffected by the coronavirus. This is because in most cases the process of switching is simple and doesn’t require an engineer – at the most, your service will be down for a few minutes.

So if you’re switching between any of the following providers, it’ll be as smooth as ever:

What if I’m switching to Virgin Media?

If you’re switching broadband to Virgin Media, there's a good chance you'll require an engineer to conduct the installation of your service – and at present Virgin Media are still sending their own engineers out to customers’ homes for installations.

This means your switch should still go ahead as per usual.

If your home has been connected to Virgin Media in the past, you may be able to install the service yourself. To do so, you'll need a free QuickStart self-install pack from Virgin Media. 

What if I’m switching to Zen broadband?

Your switch should also be unaffected if you’re switching to Zen broadband, who also have their own team of engineers.

For all of the above switches, you’ll just have to wait the standard two weeks from cancelling your existing service to transfer to your new provider.

Will switches to Openreach be affected?

On 24 March 2020, Openreach announced they were stopping, limiting or delaying engineer appointments – and this is currently set to last until 1 June. As a result if your switch requires an Openreach engineer – and only very few do – you may not be able to complete it unless you’re deemed as vulnerable, for example elderly people.

The best way to understand your current situation is to call your provider directly to ask for information.

Will the coronavirus leave me without broadband?

As mentioned above, switching between most providers means your downtime will be no longer than a few minutes.

However moving from an Openreach provider to Virgin Media or Hyperoptic means you’ll likely experience a couple hours without connection – you may want to consider using mobile data and your phone’s tethering service instead.

Do I have to let an engineer into my home?

It’s understandable if you aren’t comfortable with having people in your home during the current circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately switching between Openreach providers won’t require an engineer for the process.

However if you’re switching to Zen or Virgin Media you may need an engineer – but both providers have said there is no shortage of engineering staff at the moment, so the wait for an appointment shouldn’t be more than two weeks.

What's more, quite often the engineer can complete the installation without coming into your home. 

It's also worth noting that in Virgin Media's case, customers whose property was connected to its network in the past may actually be able to install their service themselves.

To do so, you'll need a free QuickStart self-installation pack. 

How can I contact my provider?

Many providers have been overwhelmed with the number of phone calls they’re receiving, so it maybe easier to get in touch via Facebook and Twitter – see the table below.

ProviderTwitter and Facebook





The Post Office


Now Broadband

John Lewis

Shell Energy






Virgin Media

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