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Five reasons you’re wrong about switching broadband provider

Many customers tell us they're not planning a switch – but there could be savings and a better service on offer by taking the plunge

When we surveyed more than 4,000 broadband customers, half told us they were unlikely to switch broadband provider in future and some 47% said they had never switched provider. But only a third of those who had never switched said it was because they were happy with their provider. The majority were holding back for reasons ranging from concerns about speed to a potentially misplaced sense of loyalty. 

Our research has shown that people who switch provider at the end of their contract pay significantly less for a broadband deal – and given that costs are increasing all around us, it’s become even more important to ensure that you aren’t paying more than you need to for your connection.

We've taken a look at some of the top reasons people have never changed providers and explain why we think it's still worth considering a switch.

Read 10 ways to save money on broadband and TV bills for more advice on reducing the cost of your service, and check our latest cost of living news to help ease the squeeze.

‘Switching broadband provider is too much hassle’

A quarter of those who had never switched told us they avoided it simply because they were daunted by the process. Another 13% told us that they felt switching provider would be too complicated. 

But customers who have switched tell us that it is usually simple. More than three quarters of those who had switched said the process of signing up with a new provider was easy. Most switches took less than two weeks from the order being placed to the new service being set up and ready to use, and if there was any downtime between services it was usually only a few hours long. 

In the majority of cases, you'll only have to contact your new provider and your new connection should begin on the same day the old one is switched off. 

We've broken the switching process down into four straightforward steps. Get started using our guide on how to switch broadband provider.

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'I haven’t found a better deal' 

Just over one in five people told us they'd never switched providers because they hadn't been able to find a better deal. If you're on a cheap tariff, you may be happy to stick with your provider as long as the service is decent, but our research has shown that longstanding customers are more likely to pay high amounts for their broadband. 

It may also be worth considering an upgrade. In some cases, switching to a faster fibre connection may actually cost less, but if there is a negligible increase, this could well be worth paying. Fibre offers more than just faster speeds - it's also more reliable. Read our guide on the benefits of fibre broadband to find out why it's worth considering.

'I’m loyal to my provider' 

Some 18% of people gave us a somewhat surprising reason for never having switched - loyalty to their provider. If this is your reason for sticking with a broadband provider, make sure that loyalty being returned. A good provider will not only offer good broadband service, they should have helpful technical support when it's needed, and not charge you over the odds. 

Sadly our research has shown that those who stay with the same broadband provider for long periods are more likely to be paying high amounts for their deals. Many major providers automatically increase their prices at the end of a minimum contract period, meaning customers who stay out of contract with their provider are particularly at risk of overpaying. An increasing number of providers have now also put annual price rises in their contracts, too. 

Switching is one way to make sure you're paying a reasonable amount for your broadband deal, but if you're happy with the provider you're with, consider contacting them to check you're not paying more than you should when you are out of contract. Haggling can sound like something that requires a lot of effort, but it's usually straightforward. It'll help remind your provider that loyalty should go both ways. Read our guide on how to haggle for the best broadband deal to get started. 

'I’m afraid I’ll get lower speeds'

While some 12% of those who had never switched were concerned about their speed dropping as the result of a switch, the majority of providers use the same Openreach network to deliver their broadband. 

It's possible you'll see some differences in the speeds they offer - each uses different traffic management policies - but your speed shouldn't drop dramatically. Providers advertise average speeds, but when you switch broadband providers you should be given an estimated speed specifically for your property - this will help you check what's on offer. 

However, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic are exceptions - they each have their own broadband networks that allow them to offer higher speeds than those you'll see on the majority of the Openreach network. It's worth checking what's available in your area - ultrafast broadband (more than 100Mbps) is increasingly available throughout the UK, including on the Openreach network. 

Use our broadband speed checker to find out if your speeds match up to what you're expecting.

'I don’t want to lose my email address'

Concerns about having to switch email addresses were raised by 11% of people who had never switched. While some providers, such as Sky, will allow you to continue to access your email address after you've moved on, others, such as BT and Plusnet, charge a fee for the privilege. 

But some providers don't give the option of keeping your email address if you switch away - for example, if you leave Virgin Media you'll have access to your email account for 90 days before it's deleted. 

It's best to avoid becoming beholden to a broadband provider for your emails in the first place, particularly given there are many free services available. Luckily some of these services - such as Gmail and Outlook - also have mail fetching features that will import all the emails from your old account. 

You'll need to keep your old email account active initially to give you time to change the email address on all your associated accounts. Set up email forwarding in your old email account, too - then when emails get forwarded to your new inbox, update the address they're sent to. While migrating to a new email address may take some initial effort, it'll mean you won't feel tied to any particular provider simply for an email service in future. 

It's worth exploring other broadband deals on the market to check you're paying a reasonable amount. Which? Switch Broadband can help you find the best broadband deals where you live.