The ultimate guide to switching broadband (Avoid problems!)

Update for August 2022!

Although many assume its complicated, switching broadband providers is not as demanding as it appears to be. In most instances, you’ll fill out several forms and have the new provider send a technician to handle the heavy stuff. This article explains what the process entails and what changes come with it.

Do you need to tell your broadband provider you are switching?

Before switching broadband, you must inform your present provider of your intentions. In the future, you’ll be able to make the switch without needing to inform your present provider. That’ll be a relief since most providers tend to take such calls as a chance to persuade you to stay with them, despite your dissatisfaction with their services. Notifying them may subject you to that conversation, but it’s important to find out if:

  • You have any outstanding payments
  • You are entitled to any refunds
  • You have an active subscription which you need to cancel

You need to give notice so that you don’t go offline as you work on the new connection. Sorting out such issues prepares you for the switch without any problems. You’re now ready for the switch.

How to switch broadband

Switching broadband is necessary for several reasons, chief among them the need for a better internet connection. As technology improves, so do broadband products. Your current service provider may fail to keep up with such progress, necessitating the switch. Alternatively, competition may introduce better-priced packages you need to take advantage of. It could also be that you are moving, and your current provider doesn’t cover that region. Whatever the case, it’s important to consider these steps when switching:

Confirm the new provider’s coverage

By now, you’ll have scoped the competition or checked popular providers in your destination. It is important to confirm their coverage, rates, and other details. Begin by visiting their site, keying in your location details, and checking what connection packages apply. A wise move is to do so before you even declare your intention to switch. Once you settle on a given provider, contact them and inform them of your intention. Several providers offer to handle the process of terminating your current contract, while others wait until you’ve completed the process to begin theirs. Either way, getting them on board shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Review your broadband needs

Take some time to review your broadband needs. The allure of faster internet speeds and add-ons may have you paying for things you don’t need. In addition, marketing jargon may hide conditions that may make the relationship with your new provider troublesome. Therefore, take that period before getting the new connection to calculate your needs and see if the new provider has suitable packages with no redundancies or shortcomings.

Let the switch commence

If you are switching from one Openreach phone network service provider to another, you only need to inform the new provider of your intentions, and they will handle all the technicalities through the one-stop switch process. In contrast, if either your present or new provider isn’t on the Openreach network, you’ll have to inform both parties of your intention for them to initiate the switch. Once all details are ironed out, the new provider will work on your connection and get you connected as seamlessly as possible.

How to cancel your broadband package

When cancelling a broadband package, there is concern about whether you’ll have to pay an exit penalty. Typically, leaving earlier than the contract stipulates comes at a cost, usually a penalty stated in the contract, plus extra charges like the cost of equipment. However, there are scenarios where you can leave without paying the exit penalty.

Minimum period rule

Check to see if there is a minimum period. Most contracts have a time frame, usually 12, 18, or 24 months, with a minimum period after which you can cancel the contract at no cost. Some even have a cooling-off period, usually 14 or 30 days after signing up, where you can cancel and get a refund. You can wait out the minimum period and then cancel if the latter period is up.

Monthly bill increment

Your provider may raise your monthly bill amount and inform you of the change, as is the rule. Such a change introduces a cooling-off period within which you can cancel the contract without incurring a penalty.

Unresolved connection issues

If you have raised complaints without any resolution or efforts towards the same, you are free to switch broadband providers at no cost.

Common problems when switching broadband providers

You may face problems switching broadband providers, and so you need to know how to avoid them:

  • You may need a new line in a broadband switch: This is easily resolved when the new provider sends over an engineer to install the new phone line, fibre line, or Virgin Media cable. The process usually takes an hour at most.
  • Your preferred broadband provider doesn’t cover your new location: In this case, you’ll be forced to shop for another provider with a strong connection.
  • The new broadband connection is poor: Troubleshoot the connection by turning the router on and off and contacting the provider if that fails. It’s important to test out the connection, which is why a cooling-off period allows switching providers if you change your mind.

Switching bundles

Switching bundles is easier if you’re sticking with the same provider. You only need to contact them to discuss the switch and the new payments. Switching broadband providers and upgrading or downgrading bundles are the same; only you’ll be settling on a different bundle from what you’re used to.

Do you need to switch broadband and TV?

This depends if you were initially on a TV bundle and would like to continue with the same or if you wish to get them separate. Either way, your new service provider should cater to those demands. Note that sticking to a bundle can be cheaper than getting either separately.

Can you keep your landline number when switching broadband?

Yes, switching providers won’t mean you lose your landline number. You only need to notify the old provider of the switch, so they cancel other services.

How long does switching broadband take?

Typically, this switch takes about two weeks but there are ways to speed switching up. However, you’ll only lose a few minutes of your internet connection. Switching from or to the Openreach network connection may have you lose an hour or two of the connection, but that’s all the inconvenience you’ll incur.


Switching broadband may seem like a hassle, but if you follow this guide, the process should be fast and painless, with many opportunities to save on internet connection costs. You only need to review your internet connection needs to pick the most convenient and efficient service