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23 Jun 2021

How to know it's time to leave your broadband provider

Weighing up whether it's time for a change? We've pulled out the top five reasons people switch their broadband
Man looking pensively at laptop

Broadband has become an essential utility, yet our broadband satisfaction survey has shown that many customers simply aren't happy with the service they receive.

But many people who expressed dissatisfaction and gave their provider low ratings had been with the same company for three years or more. Less than half of those we surveyed said they were actively planning a switch in the near future, while some 44% said they'd never switched at all.

If you're one of the people struggling with a poor connection, you may be wondering whether a change is worth it. We asked those who had switched what made them take the plunge -if any of their reasons speak to you, you may find that it's also time for you to to switch provider.

Discover which broadband providers we recommend - read our round-up of the best and worst broadband providers for 2021.

Avoid broadband price rises

Price rises were the top reason customers decided to ditch their provider for a new one -21% of customers told us they'd switched after being hit with an unexpected price rise.

Several of the major providers (including Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media) have announced price rises this year. If an unexpected price rise is greater than inflation, you should be given the right to switch away, even if you're still within the fixed term specified in your contract.

However, it's worth being aware that it's increasingly common for broadband providers to include annual price hikes in broadband contracts - and these are less easy to avoid.

Another 6% of respondents told us they'd changed providers because the introductory offer they'd been on had ended - which also often means a jump in price. Many of the big providers offer affordable introductory deals, with the tariff rising at the end of a 12, 18 or 24-month fixed term. Our analysis of deals on offer in May found that the typical rise in price was 24%, although some customers could see their tariff jump up by an eye-watering 66%.

woman on laptop making card payment

Find a better broadband deal

One in six of those who had switched told us they'd done so simply because they'd found a better deal with a new provider.Previous customers of BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Utility Warehouse were particularly likely to tell us this had been their motivation to move on.

If you've been with the same provider for a long period, you're more likely to be paying too much for your connection than people who have switched regularly. Keep an eye on what else is on offer using Which? Switch Broadband to see the broadband deals available where you live - and how much you could save.

Get a faster broadband connection

Slow broadband was the third most-common reason customers change providers, with 12% saying this is what had motivated them.

If you're suffering from slow broadband, use our guide on how to speed up slow broadband to check whether there are steps you can take to improve it.

But it's also worth considering whether it's worth upgrading to a new faster connection. While fibre is both faster and more reliable than standard broadband, only 60% of those who have access to fibre have currently signed up.

Find out more using our guide to the benefits of fibre broadband.

Resolve connection problems

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant more of us rely on our broadband connection for work, school and to stay in touch with friends and family. While customers told us that connection issues were up across the board, 11% of customers who had switched told us this is what had driven them away from their provider.

If you're experiencing issues with your connection, our advice on how to fix your broadband can help you diagnose and fix problems as they arise.

But if those issues become a regular occurrence and you've had enough - it's time to switch provider.

Escape poor customer service

While only 9% of customers overall switched after experiencing poor customer service, this rose to 14% of Now TV and Vodafone customers and was double for TalkTalk customers.

Our survey shows that not every provider offers decent customer service and technical support, and only one provider earned four stars out of five for both. Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has said that major broadband providers need to tackle customer service problems.

While there is work for many companies to do, our broadband provider reviews will help you compare what's currently on offer and see what other customers have to say about their provider's customer service.