How to switch broadband provider
Finding your perfect new package is only the first step towards switching – there's a process to follow if you want to change services with the minimum downtime.
But you don't need to be put off by the thought of switching. 77% of switchers in a recent Which? survey told us that they found it easy to do and many ended up with cheaper packages, faster speeds and more reliable connections. And, in the majority of cases, the whole process took less than two weeks.
Concerned that coronavirus could affect your ability to switch broadband provider? While the majority of switches are still possible, Openreach (the network that supplies the majority of the UK's broadband connections) has paused in-home engineer visits so in some cases switching will have to be delayed. To find out whether you're likely to be affected read our .
If you're keen and able to switch, follow our simple steps to make the move as smooth as possible.
Step 1: Check you can leave your current provider
Before starting any broadband switching process, check your current contract and make sure you've completed the minimum term. If you're unsure then give your provider a call to check. If you're still under contract, you could be hit with a heavy cancellation fee for leaving early.
If you're outside your minimum contract period, your broadband provider will be keen to keep your custom and may even offer you a cheaper broadband deal or another incentive to stay.
Step 2: Choose a new broadband deal
Use – our online comparison service – to check which providers offer broadband where you live and to compare the available offers. It's a quick and straightforward way to find the best broadband deal for you. Click 'More details'
- First of all, enter your postcode to start comparing the deals that are available at your home.
- Use the filters to choose a broadband package that offers the minimum speed and data allowance you want. You can also choose a line rental deal offering the inclusive calls you need – for example free evening and weekend calls.
- Choose a contract length that suits you – 18 month contracts are common, but some providers offer 12 or 24 month contracts. Shorter contracts may offer more flexibility, while longer contracts tend to be cheaper.
- Our provider ratings are shown for each company, too – these reflect the feedback we've received from thousands of customers. Read for more information on our scores.
- Click 'More details' on each deal for extra information about the features included, any special offers available and a breakdown of costs.
- When you've found the best broadband deal for you, click 'Visit now' to head to the deal on the provider's site and sign up.
Once you've got a deal in mind, make sure you have all the details on exactly what you'll be signing up for – and for how long. If you're not given one by the provider, ask for a speed estimate for your address, as well as checking for any connection or router charges and the total monthly cost.
Step 3: Contact your chosen new provider
If you're switching between providers who use the Openreach telecoms network – such as BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk – then your new provider will arrange the whole transfer for you. They'll let your old provider know that you want to move and you'll then be sent notification letters (from your old and new providers) confirming what's happening and when the transfer should take place as well as setting out any early termination charges that you'll have to pay.
Step 4: Contact your existing provider (if required)
If you're switching to or from a cable network such as the one used by Virgin Media, you'll need to stop your service with your current provider and start a new one with a new provider (sometimes known as 'cease and re-provide').
In these circumstances you'll need to contact both your current provider to cancel your contract and your new provider to arrange your new broadband service. You'll then receive notification from the provider you are leaving that your contract is ending (and notification of any charges associated with this), and will be given a new contract from your new provider which will tell you when your contract is due to start.