Switching broadband provider

Published: 4 August 2010

Are you having problems with your broadband package? Are you not getting the speeds you were promised, or have you found a better deal through a price comparison website?

It’s never been simpler to switch your broadband. The process to follow depends on who you’re switching to, and what kind of broadband connection you currently have.

The first thing you should do is contact the provider you wish to switch to and they will be able to explain the process you need to follow.

As announced in September 2021, a new easier and quicker switching process for all broadband and landline services, One Touch Switch, was due to be launched on 3 April 2023. However, there will be a delay to industry’s launch of the new process and it is not yet available for customers to use. The existing switching processes set out below are to be followed until the new process is ready for use.

Ofcom rules mean you can leave your provider without being penalised if you’re not getting the broadband speeds you were promised when you entered the contract.

Any loss of service that occurs during a switch should not be longer than one working day and providers must compensate you if things go wrong.

One-stop switch

If your current broadband service runs on the Openreach phone network, and you’re switching to another provider that also uses this network, you can follow a ‘one-stop’ switching process. (Companies that use the Openreach network include BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone.)

Under this process, you don’t need to contact your current provider at all. Instead, your new provider can arrange the transfer for you.

Once you’ve contacted your new provider to begin the switching process, both your new provider and old provider must both send you a letter to inform you of the switch.

The letter from your old provider must include details of:

  • the services which will be switched;
  • any services which are not affected; and
  • any charges that apply if you are leaving your contract early.

The letters must also give details of the switch, including an estimate of when it will happen.

Switching between networks

If you're switching to, or from, a fibre-to-the-premise or ‘full-fibre’ service or a provider that doesn’t use the Openreach network – such as Virgin Media’s cable service – you will need to stop your service with your current provider and start a new service with a new provider. You should contact both providers.

Your old provider will confirm that your contract is ending – and explain any charges that might apply – while your new provider will let you know when your new contract will start.

Switching a bundle

If you use a bundle of services with a provider, for example home phone and broadband, you will usually follow one of the processes described above.

However, if you're switching provider for a bundle which includes a TV service, there might be some differences – particularly if the switch involves cancelling a satellite TV service. Your new provider can give you information on this.

If you take a landline and broadband service from the same provider, switching your broadband provider is likely to mean switching your landline service at the same time. So make sure you’re happy to do so before signing up for one of these offers.

Early termination charges and cooling off period

If you want to change provider before the end of your minimum contract period, you might have to pay early termination charges (unless you're not getting the speeds you were promised). Check with your current provider whether you will need to pay any charges when you switch.

And remember, you always have a 14-calendar-day ‘cooling off’ period, during which you can cancel your request to switch broadband provider – without being charged.

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