10 tips for switching your broadband

ByKim Staples
Man switching broadband

Thinking of switching to a brand new broadband provider? Well you’ve come to the right people. There are tons of benefits to switching - it means you can get faster speeds, a new router, and most importantly save a truckload of money - especially when you pick a package the right way.

Here are a few tips and tricks we know for finding a new broadband and making the switch. And don't forget to take a look at our guide to how to switch broadband for the answers to all your questions.

1. Always, always compare

There are tons of broadband providers out there, each offering something a little different for a slightly different price. When you want to switch, always use a price comparison tool - like this one right here! - to see what the options are in your area, and which one will give you the best deal.

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2. Check your contract

Broadband contracts tend to last a while, so check what's going on with the one from your current provider before taking out a new one.

  • If you're no longer within the contract's minimum terms, you're free to switch.
  • If you're still within the minimum terms, you can switch, but there will likely be a cancellation fee - and it's usually a big one.
  • If your provider introduced a random price hike within the last 30 days, if you're not receiving fast enough speeds, or if you believe your provider is otherwise in breach of contract, you may be entitled to cancel your contract without penalty.

See our guide to your broadband consumer rights for more info.

3. Work out what speed you need

Download speeds on broadband packages can range from a snail's-pace 2Mb out in the sticks all the way up to a ridiculously fast 1Gb (1,000Mb) in certain areas.

So deciding what sort of speed you need - and whether you should spring for a fibre optic connection - is important. A package with superfast speeds (24Mb and above) is great for big households, or anyone who streams a lot of video, plays games online, or downloads large files on the regular. If you're unsure what you might need, use our speed checker to see what speed you're currently getting so you have a good basis for comparison.

Fibre optics

4. To limit or not to limit?

These days, the majority of broadband packages are unlimited, meaning you can use and download as much as you want without hitting any kind of cap.

If your household only uses the internet a really small amount - we're talking less than an hour of basic browsing in a day in total, no online gaming, no watching videos, no streaming music or podcasts - you may be able to save money by opting for a cheaper, limited-download package.

Generally, though, unlimited broadband tends to be comparable in price to its capped counterpart… We'd recommend the unlimited option just for peace of mind.

5. Bundle up

Will you also make good use of a phone line or a bit of pay-TV? You could save money by bundling them all up together with your broadband.

Home phone

For a chatty household that uses the landline a lot, look out for packages that have calls included - whether it's evening and weekend calls, or unlimited anytime calls. If you never use the phone, on the other hand, go broadband-only or pick one with just basic pay-as-you-go calls.

TV

Bundles from Sky or Virgin Media are perfect for big telly fans, and fantastic for getting all those premium channels. Or for just a few extra channels - and the ability to add services like BT Sport or Sky Cinema - look for basic TV from BT or TalkTalk.

TV and remote

To compare bundles, just select the filters you want when you compare broadband packages.

6. Keep your budget in mind

Cost is a big concern when you're choosing broadband - this is what'll come out of your bank account every month, after all.

By using our comparison tool, you can not only see all the packages available in your budget, but you'll also see the true cost of what you'll pay for each one. We sort results by total first year cost, so you can clearly see how much each package costs - including your monthly bill, what you'll be paying once an initial offer runs out, and any one-off set-up fees.

7. Think about customer service

Some providers, like Plusnet, are renowned for their excellent customer service; others don't always impress as much. Take a look at Ofcom's research to see what users are saying, or have a read of some customer reviews.

8. Do your research

It's a good idea to read up on the providers you're considering, just so you know what you can expect. Have a gander at our detailed provider guides for the complete lowdown on them all.

9. Sort out your email account

Email icon

Got an email account from your current broadband provider? Time to find out what'll happen to it when you switch. Luckily we have a guide for that.

If it turns out it'll be deleted, get to work backing up your emails and transferring everything over to a Gmail, Outlook, or other account ASAP.

10. Learn what happens when you switch

Switching broadband provider is far easier than it sounds. Take a look at our how-to guide for all the details on how it's done, and what to expect in the switchover.

If you're switching between two Openreach providers - such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, or EE - all you need to do is order a new package. Your new provider will take care of everything involved in the switch, including getting your current broadband cancelled.

If you're switching to or from a provider on a different network, however - like Virgin Media - you'll need to call up your current provider and cancel the service yourself. We'd recommend doing this after you've ordered a new package, so you know when your new broadband is likely to go live.

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