Once upon a time, switching broadband was a hassle. It forced you to badger your current provider to get one of these MAC code thingies, but luckily that’s all changed. Switching is a lot simpler now - read on to find out more…
What is a MAC?
A MAC is a migration authorisation code. It's essentially a 17-19 character serial code used to identify your phone line. It helps broadband providers keep track of it when you're switching from one to another, and means that you won't need to go without the internet for more than a couple of hours when things change over.
Back in the day, you needed to get one from your old provider when you wanted to switch broadband, but times have changed. In 2015, Ofcom introduced new rules that required your new broadband provider to take care of the whole of the switching process for you. That means there's no longer any need to waste your own time obtaining a MAC, and switching to deals like these is easier than ever.
Featured broadband deals
|Fast Broadband (all in pricing)||Broadband Unlimited||Unlimited Broadband||Unlimited Infinity 1 + Weekend Calls||Broadband Premium + Weekend Calls|
|Monthly cost £22.95 1st year cost: £275.40||Monthly cost Free (for 12 months, then £10.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £9.95||Monthly cost £2.50 (for 12 months, then £9.99 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £36.99||Monthly cost £10.99 (for 12 months, then £26.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £188.83||Monthly cost £19.99 (for 18 months, then £26.99 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £246.83|
|Up To 17 Mb||Up To 17 Mb||Up To 17 Mb||Up To 52 Mb||Up To 17 Mb|
|Pay as you go||Pay as you go||Pay as you go||Weekend calls inc.||Weekend calls inc.|
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Call Sky on 0800 151 2878
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
Call Plusnet on 0808 178 5954
Mon to Fri 8am-8pmSat 9am-7pmSun 9am-6pm
Call BT on 0800 783 5390
Mon to Sun 8am-6.30pm
So how do I switch broadband?
Well, it's far, far simpler now you don't need a MAC. If you're switching between two providers on the Openreach network - which includes BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, and EE - your new one will do all the dirty work of arranging the switch. Be prepared to give across a bit of info about your current package, but don't worry about getting a MAC.
It's a bit different if you're switching to or from a cable network - like Virgin Media's. In this case you may still need to contact your old provider, since you'll be changing from one physical phone line to another. Your new provider will tell you everything you need to do here - and they're usually pretty eager to get you to switch to them, so they'll help you out wherever they can. Sky, for instance, has a dedicated Switch Squad to guide you through the process.
So really, all you need to worry about is what kind of new broadband package you want. Check out our guide to switching for more info, then use our tool to compare deals in your area and take your pick.
How to contact your broadband provider
Need to get in contact with your old or new provider? Here's how.
|Broadband Provider||Website||Sales number||Customer service number|
|AAISP||Go to website||0333 3400 222||033 33 400 999|
|BT Broadband||Go to website||0808 100 1441||0800 800 150|
|Direct Save Telecom||Go to website||0845 272 0072||0845 272 0072|
|EE||Go to website||0800 072 4137||0844 873 8586|
|Fuel||Go to website||0800 036 0170||0800 036 3839|
|Hive Telecom||Go to website||0800 092 0004||0800 092 0004|
|John Lewis Broadband||Go to website||0800 022 3300||0800 022 3300|
|Plusnet||Go to website||0808 178 5954||0345 140 0200|
|Post Office||Go to website||0845 722 3344||0845 611 2970|
|Sky||Go to website||0844 241 0582||0844 241 1653|
|TalkTalk||Go to website||0800 049 7843||0870 444 1820|
|Virgin Media||Go to website||0808 189 0514||0845 454 1111|
|XLN||Go to website||0808 256 5231||0844 880 7777|
|Zen||Go to website||01706 902 000||01706 902 000|