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How to switch broadband provider

Been with your broadband provider for longer than you care to remember? Join the club.

Wi-fi cutting out can be a disaster, and slow speeds a continuing frustration. So why pay more than everyone else — especially when customer service might not be up to scratch. Be brave. Seize the moment to make savings.

Companies are queuing up for your custom – switch and save a bundle.

Quick Win

If you’ve got the spare cash, see if you can save by paying upfront for a whole year’s line rental, rather than paying each month. Weigh up the benefit against being tied to your provider for another year.

What should you do with your extra money? Now that you’ve saved a few quid, we’ve a few ideas that will get you saving. Try them out here

How long it’ll take: 60 minutes

Equipment needed:

    • Broadband bills, to find out what you use and pay
    • Patience, to find your login details and passwords to access your account
    • Internet access, to check for the best deals
    • Phone, to haggle with your current provider

What you need to do


1. Check your current costs

Get your bills and check the name of your package, and what you pay for broadband, line rental and any calls. Look back over a few months. Is there anything piling on extra costs? Deal run out? Running over your allowance? Does your current package suit your circumstances?

2. Get used to your usage

Cut your broadband costs by matching what you pay with what you need. Think about your household. How many devices are competing for a connection? If there’s a games console, several smartphones, a laptop, tablet and catch up TV all running at the same time, you’ll need a package that can cope.

There’s no point going for broadband that’s cheap as chips if you rack up expensive extra charges every time you go over the usage limits. The magic word is “unlimited”.

On the flipside, don’t pay extra for unlimited usage and a super speedy connection if you only check email and browse the odd website (not too odd, we hope).

3. Get haggling

If can be frustrating to see the best deals offered to new customers, when you’ve been paying full whack for years. But even existing customers can ask for better deals.

Get prepared, and find out exactly what’s being offered elsewhere and ring up your provider. Pick the options about “thinking of leaving”, and get through to the retention or disconnection team.

Tell them you’re thinking of switching to a cheaper deal with a different provider. See if they’ll offer a better deal if you stay – discounted broadband, cheaper line rental, faster speeds, unlimited allowances, extra call plans or a router upgrade. Every fiver a month you save puts an extra £60 back in your pocket each year.

Our top favourite tips – click for more


Beware of ‘up to’ speeds

Broadband providers advertise amazingly fast connections, but be wary of the term ‘up to’, because it might mean you don’t get the top speeds that are advertised.

Try a broadband speed test on a comparison website. Check what you’re actually getting compared to what you pay for. If there’s a big difference, bargain for a better price from your current provider.

If you’re thinking of switching, ask the new provider for a realistic estimate of the speed you’ll actually get.

Get a tool to do the hard work for you

Pop your postcode into a comparison website to see what’s on offer. For broadband, try Ofcom-approved sites like Broadbandchoices.co.uk, Broadband.co.uk, Broadbandgenie, MoneySavingExpert and MoneySuperMarket.

Think about the long term

Comparison websites can offer a bewildering mass of options: company, speed, usage, type of broadband, contract length, introductory offers, freebies and even shopping vouchers. It’s enough to give anyone a headache.

But hang on in there. Don’t stick with an old over-priced package, when you might be able to save hundreds of pounds.

Focus on the speed and usage you want. Look beyond super cheap short term offers – compare the cost of the first year.

See what your current provider is offering new customers, and what you can get elsewhere.

Customer service is important

Broadband providers don’t have the best reputation for customer service. Keep your blood pressure down – look at feedback on customer satisfaction before leaping to another provider.

If you’ve had a bad time with your current company, vote with your feet and move away.

Find out if you can leave for free

Don’t leap elsewhere without checking if you’ll face a big bill. Contracts can run for 12, 18 or even 24 months. If you jump ship earlier, you might get stung by termination or cancellation fees. Expensive exit fees could wipe out any saving from switching, so it might be best to wait till your contract is up.

Mid contract? It’s still worth calling your provider and asking if you could cut costs with a different package.

In some circumstances, you can leave your contract early without paying a penny. These include price hikes and poor service (slow speeds). If you think you may be one of those people, BroadbandChoices has a full list of reasons that will get you out of your contract early.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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