What’s a MAC code and how do I get one?

ByKim Staples
Woman sitting on sofa with laptop

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.

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Monthly cost Free (for 12 months, then £7.50 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £6.75 Monthly cost Free (for 12 months, then £10.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £9.95 Monthly cost £4.00 (for 8 months, then £19.00 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: £117.99 Monthly cost Free (for 12 months, then £9.99 per month thereafter) 1st year cost: -£68.01
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Weekend calls inc. Pay as you go Weekend calls inc. Pay as you go
Go
Call TalkTalk on 0800 049 7843
Mon to Thurs 8am-10pmFri to Sun 8am-9pm
Go
Call Sky on 0800 151 2878
Mon to Sun 8am-10pm
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Call Virgin Media on 0808 168 6088
Open 24/7
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Call Plusnet on 0808 178 5954
Mon to Fri 8am-8pmSat 9am-7pmSun 9am-6pm

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

 

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