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11 Jul 2019

Why you're wrong about switching broadband provider

We've rounded up the reasons people give for not switching - and why you should do it anyway

When we surveyed over 8,000 broadband customers, only a third said they were considering switching broadband provider - and nearly half had never switched away from the provider they first signed up with.

Yet, only 43% said they weren't planning to switch because they were happy with their current provider - the majority gave other reasons ranging from loyalty to speed concerns. Meanwhile, our research has shown that customers who spend long periods with the same provider are more likely to pay more that those who regularly switch.

So we've rounded up some of the other common reasons people stick with the same provider - and explained why we think you should switch anyway.

Already tempted to move? Use our overview of the best - and worst - broadband providers of 2019 to make sure you don't pick a dud.

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

37% of those we surveyed were concerned that switching provider could lead to them losing their email address.

Whether your email address will be affected on not depends on which provider you're leaving. Some, such as Sky broadband, will allow you to continue to access your email (as long as it remains active) even after you've moved on. Others, like BT broadband and Plusnet broadband, will also allow continued access to your email, but charge a fee for people who are no longer broadband customers.

Meanwhile, providers like Virgin Media broadband will simply give you a grace period before closing down your email.

So, to avoid being reliant on your provider simply for email , consider migrating your email to a free email address. Several, like Gmail and Outlook, have mail fetching features that will import all of the emails from your old account.

You can then set up email forwarding in your old email account so that emails automatically show up in your new inbox. Obviously, this will only work while your old address is still active, so give yourself a month or so for the changeover and update the address emails are sent to each time one is forwarded to your new address.

woman frustrated with computer

'It's too much hassle'

32% of survey respondents are daunted by the process of switching - but in the majority of cases, this is straightforward.

When we asked survey respondents who had switched in the past twelve months, the majority said they'd found the process easy - of the over 3500 respondents who had recently switched, only 12% said they'd had difficulties.

We've broken it down into four simple steps - to get started read our guide on how to switch broadband provider.

'I haven't found a better deal'

One in five (20%) told us that they haven't found a better broadband deal than the one they're on. But if you've been with your broadband provider for more than 18 months, the likelihood is you're paying more than you need to.

This is because the majority of broadband providers use inviting offers to entice new customers, and then raise their prices after an introductory period. This period is typically 18 months long but 12 and 24 month periods exist too.

If you're outside of this introductory period, you'll almost certainly be able to find a cheaper deal. Use Which? Switch broadband to find the best broadband deals near you.

'I'm afraid I'll receive slower broadband speeds'

14% of the broadband customers we surveyed told us they were concerned that switching provider could lead to them receiving lower speeds.

The majority of big broadband providers use the same Openreach network to deliver their broadband, though you might see slight fluctuations in speed because they apply different traffic management policies.

Virgin Media is an exception here - it has its own cable network that allows it to offer higher speeds than those offered in a lot of the Openreach network. However, ultrafast broadband (with speeds of >100Mbps) is still available from other providers, depending on your location.

Switching can be an opportunity to move from slower standard (ADSL) broadband to fibre. Fibre is available in 94% of premises in the UK, but only 45% of us have signed up. Our analysis has shown that, in some cases, fibre actually costs less that standard broadband. Read our guide to broadband speeds to see how the two compare.

'I'm loyal to my current provider'

Perhaps the most surprising reason - given by around one in eight (13%) - was that people felt too loyal to their provider to switch.

We think this loyalty is misplaced. Analysis has shown that customers who stick with their provider are more likely to be paying large amounts for their deal. This 'loyalty penalty' is being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Ofcom.

Switching regularly is a way of ensuring that you're getting a decent price for your broadband. But if you're really happy with your current provider, then another option is to haggle regularly.

The concept can sound daunting, but it is usually fairly straightforward - and the simple act of letting your provider know you're willing to leave can be enough to secure a big discount on the amount you pay each year. Read our guide on how to haggle for your broadband to get started.