Switching broadband providers has never been easier, so if you’ve stuck with the same supplier for several years, it’s well worth seeing if you can find a cheaper deal elsewhere.

One in three households have never switched their broadband provider, according to research by GoCompare, despite the fact that savings can sometimes be substantial. Many people are worried about losing access to the internet when they switch, but providers have got much better at moving people across so there’ll usually only be a very brief interruption, often less than an hour, to your service. 

Here’s our simple step-by-step guide to switching broadband suppliers.

1. Check your current contract

Before you switch broadband providers, you’ll need to check your existing contract to see if you are out of your initial contract period, or whether you will have to pay an early cancellation fee to leave your deal. If there is a charge, make a note in your diary of when you’ll be out of contract and consider switching at this point. 

If you’re out of contract, then you should be free to switch to a new provider without penalty. Before doing so, check what sort of deal your current provider can offer you, so you’ve got something to compare other broadband offers to. Bear in mind that you usually need to give your broadband provider 30 days’ notice before leaving your deal.

2. Find a competitive broadband deal to switch to

There are loads of different broadband deals to choose from, and it can take a bit of time to work out which one is right for you. A good starting point is to consider exactly what you need from your broadband package. For example, do you stream a lot of content, or do you only use it to send and receive the odd email? Our article How to find the best broadband deal has plenty of tips on how to work out which is the right broadband deal for you. 

Once you’ve thought about what sort of service you need, you can compare broadband deals quickly and easily using this broadband comparison service. Simply enter your postcode, and details of your current provider and the service will come up with the deals available to you. You can narrow down your options by specifying your budget, the broadband speed you’re looking for, how much data you’ll need, and how long you want your contract to last for.

Once you’ve found a suitable deal, you simply click on it and sign up. Your new provider will then handle the switch on your behalf and tell you the start date for your new contract. You should receive confirmation from both your new provider and your current provider that the switch is happening.

3. Sit back and wait for the switch to take place

Your new broadband deal should typically be up and running within a couple of weeks, although it can sometimes take up to six weeks to change providers.

You shouldn’t usually see any significant interruption in your service, although you might be offline for a short period once the actual switch takes place. Sometimes this can be as little as half an hour. Your new provider should let you know when this will happen.

The switching process should become even faster once the ‘One Touch Switch’ process is introduced in April 2023. This will enable customers to switch broadband providers simply by contacting their new provider and letting them take care of it. Ofcom states that you won’t have to contact your old provider at all, and that switching could take as little as one day where technically possible. You can find out more about ‘One Touch Switch’ in our article Ofcom announces new broadband switching process.

4. What if I want to switch to a different type of internet service?

Whilst the process of switching from one standard broadband provider to another is relatively straightforward, moving between different types of internet service – for example from standard to fibre broadband – may take a bit longer.

You will usually need to stop your service with your current provider and start a new service with your new provider, rather than your new provider handling things on your behalf. Depending on your home setup, and as long as it’s offered in your area, you may also need someone to come and install fibre optic to enable the faster speeds. Bear in mind that fibre optic still isn’t available in certain rural areas so if you can’t get it, you’ll need to go with a standard connection.

Have you switched broadband suppliers? How easy or difficult did you find it? We’d be interested to hear your views. You can join the conversation on the Community forum or leave a comment below.

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