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

We've pulled out the key reasons people move broadband providers to help you weigh up whether a change is right for you

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 likely to switch providers in future, while some 47% said they'd never switched at all. 

If you're one of the people struggling with a poor connection, you may be also be wondering whether a change is worth it. 

To help you weigh it up, 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 time for you to switch broadband provider, too.

Discover which broadband providers we recommend and which are worth avoiding using our round-up of the best and worst broadband providers for 2022  .

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Avoid broadband price rises

Price rises were the top reason customers decided to ditch their provider for a new one - 27% of customers told us they'd switched after being hit with a price hike.

Customers that had left three of the biggest providers were the most likely to say a price hike had driven them away - around a third of those departing BT, Sky and Virgin Media said this came down to a price rise.

A couple of the major providers (including Sky and Virgin Media) 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 increasingly common for broadband providers to include annual price hikes in broadband contracts - and these can't be avoided if you're within your minimum contract period, despite them usually being greater than inflation.

Another 5% of respondents told us they'd changed providers because their 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 has found that jump can be quite large - as great as 90%.

If you've been hit by a price rise and are struggling to pay your bills, speak to your provider. Telecoms providers have agreed to better support customers during the Cost of Living crisis. You can also read our guide to broadband social tariffs, to see if you're eligible for a discounted connection.

Get a faster broadband connection 

Slow broadband was the second most-common motivation for customers to change providers, with one in seven giving this as their reason for switching. However, this rose to one in five customers departing either TalkTalk or Post Office Broadband, who were the most likely to say slow speeds was their reason for switching. 

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 

We now rely more on broadband connections for work, school and to stay in touch with friends and family than we ever have before so it's essential that it's reliable. Some 18% of broadband customers told us they'd experienced frequent connection drop outs in the past year, but for 13% of those who had switched, this was what drove them away from their old provider. Customers who left TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE Broadband were the most likely to say that connection problems had prompted them to switch.

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.

Find a better broadband deal

One in thirteen of those who had switched told us they'd done so simply because they'd found a better deal with a new provider. No single provider was more likely to have customers depart for this reason than any other provider included in our customer satisfaction survey.

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 compare the broadband deals available where you live - and how much you could save.

Escape poor customer service

While only 6% of customers overall switched after experiencing poor customer service, this rose to 16% of Vodafone customers and 14% of TalkTalk customers. 

But our customer satisfaction survey shows that several providers struggle with decent customer service and technical support - quite a few earned paltry two-star ratings for one or the other.

And in a report discussing customer service on offer from broadband providers throughout 2021, Ofcom, the telecoms regulator said companies aren't doing a good enough job of resolving complaints, with a large proportion of complainants having to contact their provider multiple times in order to get a resolution.

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.

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