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How to Switch Your Broadband Provider

It's never been easier to switch your broadband to a better deal. Read our guide to find out everything you need to know.

Switching providers in three simple steps

Step 1: Check you’re out of contract: Make sure you’re no longer within the minimum terms of the contract with your current broadband provider. You can find out by looking at your original contract or confirmation email, or by contacting their customer service.

You can switch broadband at any point, but if you’re still within contract, you may face hefty cancellation fees.

2. Check what's available: You can use our - this means you only see deals relevant to you,.

3. Choose a deal and sign up: You can pick a date for your new broadband to go live, and arrange an engineer visit if necessary.

Usually, your new provider will handle the whole switch, including serving notice to your current provider. They’ll also send you a brand-new router in the post.

Should I switch my broadband provider?

Many providers will give you great rates for an introductory period of a year or two, but once that’s over you could be paying way over the odds for broadband. By switching providers, you could save money and get a better connection too.

There are plenty of reasons to switch broadband provider:

  • Save money - As faster broadband becomes more common, prices are tumbling too. You may find
  • Moving home - Sometimes your existing provider might not offer the same package in your new home, which is all the more reason to switch
  • Your connection is slow - What was once fast may now be slow, or your household's needs have changed. Higher spec packages aimed at gamers might reflect your bandwidth needs better, or if more users are streaming media on devices.

To find out if you're getting the speed you're paying for, test your broadband speed with our free tool.

Can I switch my broadband provider mid-contract?

You can cancel early, but in almost all cases you’ll have to pay an early termination fee. This is usually equivalent to the total cost of the remaining monthly bills on your contract.

So if you’re cancelling a £20-per-month deal, and it’s three months before the contract is up, you’d need to pay a fee of £60.

There’s one exception to this. Ofcom rules that exit fees may not apply if you’re leaving because you aren’t getting your promised speeds. This only applies to a handful of providers – including BT, Sky, and Virgin Media - and only if the problem is provable with the provider’s network.

You’ll need to contact your provider directly through their system, and work with them to diagnose the problem so they can improve your speed. If that doesn’t work, you may qualify for penalty-free early termination.

How long do I need to wait before I can switch?

You need to wait until the end of your broadband contract before you can switch. If you can’t remember when your deal expires, call your existing provider or log into your account to find the date. Once you know, mark that date down and be sure to compare deals to see whether you can get a cheaper plan or a faster connection with a different provider.

If you choose to switch before your contract ends, remember you will likely have to pay an early cancellation fee, often the entire amount owed before your deal expires. This may not be the best course of action if you’re looking to save money.

Do I need to cancel my broadband before switching?

In most cases, your new broadband provider will handle the whole switch for you. That includes contacting your current provider on your behalf and ending your contract with them. As long as you’re no longer within the minimum terms of that contract, you won’t have to lift a finger.

What if your new broadband provider can’t arrange the switch?

It’s easy to arrange the switch yourself if you need to. You’ll need to do the following:

  1. Call your new broadband provider and ask them when they can transfer you over to the new contract
  2. Book the date for the transfer
  3. Contact your old provider to confirm that you want to cancel on the day your new service starts

However, there are some exceptions to this. You’ll still need to contact your current provider to cancel with them if they operate on a different network – such as Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, and most independent FTTP broadband providers.

You can do this by contacting their usual customer service lines, either by phone or online.

Tell them that you’re cancelling and tell them the go-live date with your new provider.

Do I need to tell my current provider I’m switching?

In most cases you don’t need to tell your current provider that you’re switching, as your new provider is meant to contact them to arrange the move.

However, in some cases you may need to call and make it clear you’re leaving. If your current provider operates on a different network – such as Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, and most independent FTTP broadband providers – then you need to give them a call so they know what’s happening.

How much does switching cost?

There is no charge to switch unless it is an early termination.

But your new provider may charge you for:

  • Set-up fees
  • New router
  • Technical support
  • Upfront fees for things like set-top boxes or Wi-Fi boosters if required

Each provider will have their own fees and charges, so check before you commit to a new package.

When comparing broadband deals with us, we include any setup costs in the average monthly cost.

Can I keep my landline phone number if I change broadband providers?

Yes, your current home broadband provider should let you keep your landline number when you move to a new provider, as per Ofcom regulations. Your new provider doesn’t have to accept your request to transfer over your number, so make sure you ask before committing to switching.

Can I keep my email address when I switch broadband?

If you have an email address from your current broadband provider (e.g. a ‘@btinternet.com’ email address, rather than ‘@gmail.com’ or ‘@outlook.com’, for instance), you may or may not be able to keep it, depending on the provider.

Frequently asked questions

Will I lose internet during the switch?

In most cases, you can switch with little or no service interruption. Your new provider should let you know when the switch is going to happen and if you’re likely to experience any loss of service.

Can I keep my landline number?

Yes, your current home broadband provider should let you keep your landline number when you move to a new provider, as per Ofcom regulations. Your new provider doesn’t have to accept your request to transfer over your number, so make sure you ask before committing to switching.

Do I need a MAC code to change provider?

No, you don’t. Providers used to need to know your MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) to switch your broadband, but it’s no longer necessary.

The process is much more simplified now. It’s as easy as signing up with your street address – the providers can figure out the rest on their own.

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