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What's the deal?
Even though switching broadband is simple and can save a lot of money, many of us don't do it.
We're more likely to change mortgages than internet, with 30% of us admitting to never switching in 2015. Whether it's concerns over internet speed, phone charges, monthly costs or hefty exit fees, we seem to get cold feet.
But there's huge savings to be made and Ofcom have made switching a lot easier.
Bundle deals – where you package your internet with TV and phone – make switching even more attractive.
You can use A Spokesman Said to compare the best TV, phone and broadband deals in your area.
So, what are you waiting for?
If you're still unsure, our FAQs will put your mind at rest. Just keep reading.
Why should I switch broadband provider?
The simple answer is: to cut your household bills.
If you've been on the same broadband package for several years, there's a chance you're overpaying.
Comparing broadband deals will help you find the cheapest and best plan for you.
As new TV and music streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime increase our internet usage, it's more important than ever to find an internet deal that fits your needs.
How hard is it to switch broadband?
Choosing a new broadband provider is very straightforward.
Previously, you needed to get hold of an MAC code and give it your new supplier.
But now all you need to do is enter your postcode, find the TV, broadband and phone package you want and sign up.
Your new provider will take care of everything.
Unless you're switching to or from a provider with their own network, like Virgin Media – in which case you still need to contact your current provider.
Our broadband comparison tool will help you compare the best broadband-only deals and package deals from UK internet suppliers including TalkTalk, Sky, BT, Plusnet and Virgin Media.
You'll be able to compare monthly cost, data usage, speed and contract length and find the right package, whether a bargain high-speed plan or a fibre-optic deal, for your household.
What broadband is available?
The first thing to do is to check what packages are available in your area.
Nearly every UK household can now get ADSL broadband but your area, for example, might not have the right cables laid for fibre optic broadband.
Enter your postcode into A Spokesman Said's free comparison tool to find out which deals are available in your region.
Other factors to consider include speed and cost. As you'd expect, faster connections are often more expensive.
The number of options can be confusing. Do you need ADSL broadband, fibre optic broadband, cable broadband or mobile 3G or 4G broadband?
Here's quick breakdown of what these options mean:
- ADSL – Works over the same line that suppliers your phone. This common option is available to almost everyone in the UK.
- Fibre optic – Fast internet option. Has yet to be rolled out nationwide, so coverage will vary.
- Cable – Superfast broadband delivered through the same line as a cable TV package, instead of a BT phone line. Perfect for households in an area where the landline phone wiring is poor or old.
- Mobile – Runs on 3G and 4G mobile networks. Will often be more expensive but offers greater flexibility. Connect on the go using a wireless USB dongle plugged into your computer or laptop. Choose between pay-as-you-go, contract or a monthly SIM-only rolling contract.
Work out how intensively you use the internet before choosing which option to go for.
If you're struggling with slow internet, try our DIY hacks for faster broadband.
What about my phone line?
Home broadband packages need an active BT landline to operate.
You can switch your BT line to your new provider's landline service and get a bundle deal; some providers insist that you move both your phone and broadband.
If you plan on using your landline, however infrequently, check for any charges that may apply.
Companies lure customers in with cut-price broadband and then charge for landline calls – which have traditionally been free for years.
If you use your mobile, and don't think you need a landline, have a look at cable and mobile broadband packages (see previous section for an explanation of what these mean).
What if something goes wrong?
If your broadband switch goes wrong, you are protected under the 1979 Sales of Goods Act.
You're entitled to switch broadband provider during your contracted period if the service is consistently poor or your provider raises prices unexpectedly.
Top Tip: Keep a paper trail. If you're having difficulty switching from your old provider, keep a record of all phone calls and email exchanges.
You can make a complaint about your broadband provider using A Spokesman Said's free tool.
Will I be without internet while the switch takes place?
It's unlikely you will be without internet for more than two hours at most.
Make sure you know how to get compensation if your landline or broadband provider lets you down.
Will I have to pay to switch broadband?
This depends on the broadband deal you take out and your contract with your current provider.
If you're within the minimum terms of your contract, costly exit fees may apply.
Upfront costs – usually around £50 – can include the installation of a new phone line or a new broadband modem.
Keep in mind, though, that the yearly savings from switching may outweigh any exit fees.
Finding the right broadband package for your household
Once you know what packages are available, you need to work out which one is best for you.
A family of five with multiple devices connecting to the internet will need a different broadband deal – a wireless router, for instance – than someone living on their own.
Ask yourself how much you use the internet.
Do you, for example, regularly download or stream films? Or do you just check your emails every now and then?
Once you know this, you can select a high or low usage limit that caters for your needs.
You might want a short-term contract or a long contract with a large download allowance; or you might be tempted be extras such as free landline phone calls.
If you're a parent, here's how to make sure your child is using the internet safely.
What is a heavy internet user?
Certain activities – gaming, file sharing, film streaming – use up a hell of a lot of bandwidth.
If this sounds like you, then it may be worth choosing a deal with superfast internet speeds.
If you have a family with lots of devices, your household usage will be fairly high.
Many of us always underestimate our internet usage. Two people sitting using the Wi-Fi on their phones counts towards your usage.
Will I be able to keep my old email address?
This hinges on which internet supplier your email is currently from.
Most firms – BT, Sky, Virgin Media, Plusnet and TalkTalk – let you keep your address after you change provider, but you may have to pay or notify your supplier in advance.
Are there any hidden charges to watch out for?
Broadband providers often try to catch customers out with charges hidden in the contract's T&Cs.
Watch out for unexpected costs for moving your home broadband service if you move house.
And, if a provider doesn't require you to sign up for a minimum contract length, check the small print for any mention of cancellation fees.
Watch out for future price rises and line rental charges buried in the T&Cs.
In 2017, BT hit customers with a 33% hike after hiding a £20 a month price rise and £18.99 line rental in the small print.
And be very wary of anyone that offers "free" broadband.
As we mentioned earlier, companies will make up the shortfall by whacking up the cost of landline calls or line rental.