The Definitive Guide To Switching Broadband Providers in 2023

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Switching your broadband provider in 2023 can help you save money. Around 65% of people who switch providers are likely to be offered a cheaper package, which gives them access to faster connections that is more reliable. 

If you’ve not switched providers in a long time, and have traditionally stayed loyal to your internet provider, then switching can be a little daunting and challenging. 

Not only do you need to choose which provider is best for you to switch to, but you also need to know what steps to take to cancel your original contract and take out a new one. Doing this can quickly unravel into a messy and annoying process. 

To help, here’s a definitive guide detailing the step-by-step process you need to follow to switch broadband providers successfully, as well as a detailed look at the top UK providers to help you switch to the right provider for you in 2023.

How To Switch Broadband Providers in 4 Easy Steps

1. Check that you’re eligible to leave your current provider

Unfortunately, you cannot leave your current provider any time you like. Typically, you’ll be tied down to a contract where you must serve a minimum period before you can easily leave. 

Most contracts these days last between 12-24 months, with many providers trying to keep customers in arrangements for longer to limit the amount that switches around. 

It’s essential to check how long into your contract you are and if you’re able to leave. If you’re unsure, it’s best to contact your provider to find out. 

If you try to leave while still under contract, you’ll be hit with heavy cancellation fees. Many providers will force you to pay the leftover months in your contract simultaneously, meaning that switching early can be a massive expense. 

If you have been with your current provider for longer than your minimum term, then you should be able to switch hassle-free and without paying anything to your current provider. 

Do note that your current provider will be desperate for you to stay, so you could be offered a cheaper broadband deal to incentivise you not to switch. Doing this can be an excellent haggling technique, but stick to your guns if you’re determined to move. 

Also, be aware that some providers intentionally make the cancellation process challenging to put people off. For some, the process can involve hours with customer service, and you may also be hit with hefty fees. 

2. Choose a new broadband deal

Once you’ve seen that you’re eligible to switch providers, or if you’re happy to pay the cancellation fee, the next step is to choose your new provider. 

You must take your time with this step and not go with the first deal you see. Compare your options by using a comparison table or by reading up about each provider. 

When choosing who to switch to, you’ll need to consider which providers actually cover your local area, which package and speeds you require, and of course, how much things will cost you. 

You’ll also want to consider the contract length of your package. If you intend to switch providers again to chase the cheapest deals, then you’ll want to opt for a provider that offers shorter-term contracts. However, if you’re happy with a long-term deal, these contracts are usually a bit cheaper. 

It’s also wise to look at the reviews of each provider that you’re interested in, as this can illuminate what you should expect when you’re a customer. Look out for providers that have a high amount of complaints of bad customer service and who seem to have frequent outages. 

If you’re going to be using review websites like Trustpilot, be aware that many broadband companies have pretty low scores compared to other industries. This is likely because broadband is an essential service, and it can be distressing when it goes wrong. It’s important to compare these ratings relativity with other broadband providers; otherwise, none are going to look like good options. 

3. Contact your new provider

When you’ve settled on your new provider, you must contact them to activate your broadband connection and sign up for their package. 

If you’re switching from one provider who uses Openreach telecoms to another, then your new provider will be able to arrange the whole transfer for you and seamlessly manage the process. 

You’ll likely receive letters or emails from both providers to confirm what’s going on, including when your old service ends and when your new contract commences.

4. If required, contact your existing provider

If one of the providers you are switching from or to is not on the Openreach network, then your new provider will not be able to do the switch for you. Instead, you’ll have to contact your current provider to stop the service. This is known as ‘cease and re-provide’. 

When doing this, you’ll first need to contact your current provider to cancel, and then once you have been given a cancellation date, you’ll then need to get in contact with your new provider to arrange your broadband service. 

Before you contact your new provider, make sure that you get a confirmation email from your old one. 

Once you’ve contacted both providers and scheduled your switch, you should then have a time period of when your broadband will change networks. Do be aware that when switching this way, there may be a short period where you do not have broadband access if your old service end date is not the same as your new service start date.

Which Broadband Provider Is The Best To Switch To? 

When trying to figure out which broadband provider is best for you to switch to, the best option for you will depend on a few factors that are unique to your situation. That’s why it’s almost impossible to say which provider is best, as the answer will differ for each person. 

Even when you try to simplify the choice and choose based on the price of each broadband provider, these costs will alter depending on your location. For example, the cost of broadband may be one price in Essex but more expensive in Lincolnshire, despite being the exact same package. 

That’s why you need to compare different providers before switching broadband to find the right broadband provider for you. 

To help you choose which provider you should use, here’s an evaluation of the best six options in the UK. By focusing on their key features, positives and negatives, costs, and reviews, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision on who you should switch to. 

BT Broadband

bt-broadband SwitchMyBroadband

BT is by far the most well-known broadband provider in Britain and serves millions of customers in the UK and Europe. 

BT has been in the telecommunications industry for over 160 and has built a legacy in that time while also ushering in revolutionary technology. BT has the experience and know-how to provide a good broadband service. In fact, BT is one of the most trusted brands in the market. 

BT offers a full suite of broadband products, including ADSL connection and fibre-optic, plus everything else. You can also get your landlines and TV products from BT, making them a good option if you want to switch to a bundle package.

BT are the pioneers of Openreach, meaning that they have an expansive network where you’ll likely get coverage no matter where you live. 

BT broadband features

BT is a perfect option for average usage families looking for broadband, as they offer maximum speeds of up to 67Mbps. This is great for streaming on multiple devices at once and should be powerful enough to support an average-sized household.

BT provides a lot of free equipment when you switch to them, giving you things such as the wireless router free of charge. Many other providers require you to pay for a router, making this quirk of theirs something that allows them to stand out. 

This router that they give you is also one of the best on the market. The BT Smart Hub uses cutting-edge AC Wi-Fi to deliver a strong connection and provide a quality service for the entire home with no weak spots.

BT also have very good additional products that you can get in part of a bundle. BT Sports is one of the leading media channels in the UK, and they also offer one of the best landline services, helping you to build a reliable bundle of quality services. 

BT broadband cost

BT offer a wide array of packages that vary in price depending on the speed and other add-ons you get. 

You can get their fastest broadband for around £45.99 a month, giving you up to 500Mbps. This is their max speed, and do be aware that if your home doesn’t have the required technology, you’ll unlikely get these speeds. 

Their cheapest package is around £29.99 and is for a 24-month contract with an average speed of around 50Mbsp. This is a perfect speed for an individual user, but it may struggle to support a family.

All their contract also includes a £29.99 total upfront cost, making them slightly more expensive. 

BT broadband customer reviews

On Trustpilot, BT has a score of 1.6 out of 5 stars. This is pretty low for a business, but it’s important to say that most broadband providers struggle to obtain a good score. Among Broadband providers, this is actually a pretty good rank. 

The biggest complaint against BT is that their customer service isn’t the best and many reviewers felt they were unhelpful and unable to resolve their issues. 

Reasons to switch to BT broadband

  • You can get BT from pretty much anywhere in the UK
  • They offer millions of hotspots that you can connect to when away from home
  • Get given a router and online storage for free
  • No fair usage policies, meaning you can use as much broadband as you want

Reasons to avoid BT broadband 

  • One of the more expensive broadband providers
  • There are faster broadband options that are similar in price

Sky Broadband

sky-broadband SwitchMyBroadband

Since its launch in the early 1990s, Sky has been a significant player in a lot of different telecommunication sectors, including broadband and digital TV. In fact, Sky was one of the first providers of satellite TV in the UK, making it a pioneer and an industry leader. 

However, despite their focus on providing TV, Sky is also a massive broadband provider in the UK and is second to only BT in terms of customers. 

Sky offers multiple broadband products, and you are able to get broadband-only deals with them. However, they’re most valuable when you bundle their leading TV service into your deal. If you want a comprehensive product, a bundled deal with Sky is a good option for switching. With Sky TV, you can get access to exclusive sports, TV, and movies, making it a good service. 

Sky broadband features

No matter which broadband package you switch to, Sky will give you unlimited downloads, meaning that you shouldn’t expect any charges for going over a limit. You also get given McAfee internet security to protect you from viruses and malware when using your broadband. McAfee is one of the best internet security products on the market. 

The biggest selling point about Sky is that when you bundle it with your TV, you’ll get access to one of the most comprehensive TV libraries. You’re able to build bundles that suit you, being able to add and remove certain products to build a service that’s tailored to you. 

Sky broadband cost

Sky is one of the most expensive options in the industry, with their fastest broadband package costing around £52 a month, and that’s before any additional costs such as accessing premium TV channels are factored in. 

However, with that price, you get one of the fastest broadband available, with an average speed of around 900Mbps. Plus, Sky promises that when you’re on this package, your speed will never drop below 600Mbps.

Sky’s cheapest broadband is an 18-month contract costing £25 a month for just 36Mbps of speed. This is expensive for this service, however you do get a Sky Q broadband hub with this package.  

Sky broadband customer reviews

Sky Broadband ranks just below BT on Trustpilot with a score of 1.5 out of 5. This is a pretty low score for businesses, although it’s important to remember that most broadband services rank poorly on review websites. 

With that said, Sky is still one of the worst-ranking providers on the web. Many reviewers complain about the price of Sky and how there seems to be a lot of additional costs and fees that aren’t obvious when you switch. There are also many reports of faulty connections producing slower speeds than advertised, suggesting that they may not be that reliable.

Reasons to switch to Sky broadband

  • Offer a very sophisticated TV and broadband package
  • Can get it in a lot of places in the UK
  • Sky TV gives you access to a wide choice of movies and sport

Reasons to avoid Sky broadband

  • It’s expensive, and there are cheaper options elsewhere
  • Requires a satellite dish to be installed to access Sky Q
  • Sky products are available elsewhere for a lower price

TalkTalk Broadband

TalkTalk-Broadband SwitchMyBroadband

One of the most well-known names in the telecom industry is TalkTalk. They’re a business that casts their net pretty wide, offering broadband, TV, and mobile phone coverage, with the latter being something that not all the other broadband providers offer. 

Regarding their broadband service, TalkTalk offers two types of connections, standard or fibre. This gives you the opportunity to select the option that best suits your need. 

TalkTalk is a good option to switch to because they offer much smaller contracts than a few of the other competitors, allowing you to be more flexible while allowing you to switch to another provider in a year if there’s a cheaper deal to be had. 

TalkTalk broadband features

No matter what package you get with TalkTalk, you’ll also receive a mobile sim that gives you 500Mb of data, helping you to stay connected both at home and on the go. This is a really good perk, and connecting your broadband and mobile service into one package makes TalkTalk an attractive option to switch to. 

With TalkTalk, you’ll get free security software to protect your devices when using broadband. TalkTalk also allows you to set parental controls to limit what children can access, making it a great option for families.

Like other providers, you can also get free security software to help secure your internet. You can also set parental controls with TalkTalk, making it a great option for families. 

TalkTalk broadband cost

TalkTalk offers a very competitively priced service, with their fastest broadband only costing £32 a month for an 18-month contract. Although this is cheaper than many other companies’ fastest packages, the average speed is only 147Mbsp. That’s still fast enough for most people; however, it’s a lot less than the likes of Sky. 

Their cheapest package is around £24 a month, which gives you access to 38Mbsp of speed, which is a great speed for that pricepoint. 

TalkTalk broadband customer reviews

TalkTalk ranks head and shoulders above the other broadband providers, having a Trustpilot score of around 2.7 out of 5 stars. This is still a fairly average score for most businesses but dwarfs other broadband providers. 

Despite this relatively high ranking, TalkTalk still has a few negative reviews. The most frequent are against their customer support team. This demonstrates that although they offer a great product, when things do go wrong, getting the support you need is tough.

Reasons to switch to TalkTalk broadband

  • Get a good speed at a competitive price
  • Can get a good, yet stripped-back TV service
  • Can add TV options flexabilby
  • Likely to get giveaways and vouchers when you switch
  • Get free parental controls and security software

Reasons to avoid TalkTalk broadband

  • They have a poor customer service team
  • Can’t get TalkTalk TV on its own; it needs to be part of a bundle

Now Broadband

now-broadband SwitchMyBroadband

When Now TV first started, it focused on being an on-demand streaming service that gave you access to digital channels previously only available with a monthly subscription. 

Today, Now also offers a good broadband service that’s as flexible as its TV product and could suit many UK customers who are looking to switch. 

Now’s biggest selling point is that you can get access to a lot of Sky’s premium channels for a fraction of the price when you get a broadband and TV package, making it a great alternative option. 

Now stands out among other providers because you can get their broadband without a contract. Instead, you can simply pay as you go, giving you great flexibility, and making it easy to switch from the service. If you prefer a contract, they also offer short options, which is good for flexibility. 

Now broadband features

If you can’t commit to a contract, then Now’s flexibility makes it a really good option. 

You have both ADSL and fire options for your broadband, however, the speeds you can access will depend on your location. Plus, their maximum speeds are fairly low; the best you can get is 63Mbps. This is less than most providers, although it should still be enough to provide a good service for a family. 

When you first sign up to Now, your first three months cost the price of one, making it a good option for those looking to switch to cheaper broadband. 

Now broadband cost

Now has one of the best prices in the industry, with their fastest broadband being available for only £20 a month with a £5 upfront fee. You do only get 63Mbps at this price, which can be fine for a family, but if you’re looking for faster speeds, you may have to consider other options. 

If you only need minimal speeds to perform simple online tasks, then you can get 11Mbps for only £18 a month. Although this seems cheap, it may not be the best deal, as for only £2 a month more, you can get speeds that are nearly 6x faster. 

Now broadband customer reviews

Although being a cheap option to switch to, Now has the worst score on Trustpilot among the leading broadband providers, with a score of 1.4 out of 5. 

The reason they have this score is clear when looking at their reviews because Now actually has a few mixed issues and not one definitive problem. 

One issue is that getting broadband set up can take a while, meaning that you’ll be left without internet when you switch to Now. Plus, there are a lot of outages for both their broadband and TV, meaning that Now is not that reliable. 

Reasons to switch to Now broadband

  • Get a decent speed at a very low price 
  • Now TV gives you access to Sky channels
  • Greater flexibility with shorter contracts

Reasons to avoid Now broadband

  • Unlikely to run any promotions or free gifts
  • Can get much faster broadband elsewhere

Plusnet Broadband

plusnet-broadband SwitchMyBroadband

Plusnet is a popular broadband provider that’s no thrills and does what it says on the tin. They keep things simple and offer no additional ad-ons, making them a good choice if all you want is broadband. 

Plusnet is known for its great customer service, which has helped them to achieve various rewards over the years. They could be a good option if you’re looking for an easy switch to a cheaper provider. 

Plusnet broadband features

Plusnet is one of the most budget-friendly broadband options in the UK and is best suited for those that don’t require high speeds and can make do with a basic package. Although with that said, they can offer speeds up to 76Mbsp, which is worth considering if you’re looking to get comprehensive broadband for a family. 

When you switch to Plusnet, you’ll get access to unlimited downloads, meaning that no nasty changes are waiting for you when you pay your bill. You can also get a wireless router for free if you have a contract longer than 12 months. 

Plusnet seems to be a popular choice for people changing broadband providers, as they’re currently rated as uSwitch’s Broadband Provider of the Year. 

Plusnet broadband cost

Plusnet offers a package for around 66Mbps of average speed for £24.99. This is for an 18-month contract, and the speeds provided suit a family of average internet users. 

Plusnet really comes into its own when you’re looking for lower broadband speeds, as you can get a 12-month contract for 10Mbps for just £18.99. This makes Plusnet the provider of choice if you’re a light internet user. 

Plusnet broadband customer reviews

Plusnet ranks third in terms of online reviews on Trustpilot, obtaining a score of 1.9 out of 5 stars. This may be a pretty low score for an average business, but among broadband providers, it’s a lot better than some other options. 

In the reviews, one of the biggest complaints is that Plusnet’s coverage can be slow and may also fail and disconnect from time to time. These issues are likely happening because the customers have a package that provides speeds that are too low for them. When you opt for Plusnet, make sure you don’t require faster speeds, as you can easily end up with a service that is not right for you. 

Thankfully, Plusnet has the best customer service in this industry, so they are able to provide support whenever you need it. 

Reasons to switch to Plusnet broadband

  • Cheapest provider around 
  • BT Sport can be added to your deal for a good price
  • Excellent customer service
  • Available all across the UK

Reasons to avoid Plusnet broadband

  • Can’t get combined packages; they only sell broadband
  • One of the slowest broadband options available

Virgin Media Broadband

Virgin-Media-Broadband SwitchMyBroadband

Virgin Media offers one of the most premium broadband options and is well known across the UK as providing one of the fastest services available in the country. 

They’re a great option if you want to switch to a more robust and quality service, although it is an expensive option. 

Virgin Media broadband features

Virgin Media is more suited to providing a full suite of products, and although you can just get broadband deals, they like to focus on bundles where you can also get landlines, TV, and mobile services included. 

Virgin does not offer slow speeds. In fact, the slowest that you can get with Virgin is 108Mbps, which outperforms many other providers’ fastest speeds. However, to get those speeds, you are paying a premium. 

At the top end, you can access speeds of around 362Mbps, which is a fantastic option for those that like to stream in 4K and download massive files. 

Because of these speeds, Virgin is widely used for businesses, as it can provide broadband for multiple users, and it’s also well suited to very large households where everyone is likely to be using the internet at once. 

Virgin Media broadband cost

Virgin’s most expensive broadband package can cost you around £44 a month for an 18-month contract. For the speeds it gives you access to, it may be worth it, however, it may not be the right choice for you if you don’t require that speed.

Their cheapest plan costs £23 per month, which is a good price and also gives you access to a reliable speed that works well for average usage households.

Virgin Media broadband customer reviews

On Trustpilot, Virgin Media has a score of 2 out of 5 stars, which is a good score for a broadband provider. 

One major issue with Virgin that often appears in the reviews is that they make the leaving process difficult. Some past customers say that they’ve been on customer services for hours trying to cancel their contract and have had to pay an additional fee to eventually leave. This can make it not a very good option if you’re looking to switch to a different provider while being a Virgin customer. 

They do provide a very good service; it’s just this experience when you leave that makes its ratings suffer. 

Reasons to switch to Virgin Media broadband

  • Its speed is the fastest in the UK
  • Its slowest speed can still support a large household
  • They offer great bundling options with TV and mobile
  • You can get rolling contracts, although they’re more expensive

Reasons to avoid Virgin Media broadband

  • One of the most expensive options in the UK
  • Bundles can’t be customised
  • Not everywhere in the UK can get Virgin Media

Broadband Switching FAQs

Most asked customer questions when switching broadband providers.

When’s the best time to switch broadband? 

To make sure that you’re not paying any additional charges or cancellation fees, it’s best to switch broadband once your minimum contract with your current provider is over. 

If you’re looking to switch regularly, make sure to enter contracts lasting no more than 12 months. This will allow you to switch regularly without having to pay any fees.

Early exit fees can be very expensive, with many providers charging you the cost of any leftover months all at once. If you’re looking to exit early, this fee can make the switch not worth it. 

You’ll only be able to switch providers early without having to pay if your current provider isn’t fulfilling their contract. For example, if you’re paying for an average speed of 60Mbps, but you’re only getting 30Mbps, you may be able to leave without paying. 

You will have to prove this and have tests done on your home. If you’re having issues, Ofcom provides assistance. 

Do I need to cancel my broadband before switching?

Depending on who you’re switching to and from, you may have to contact your current provider to cancel it before switching. 

If you’re using a provider that is on the Openreach network, which includes BT, TalkTalk, and Sky, you do not have to manually cancel your current contract providing that you’re switching to someone that also uses the Openreach network. 

Your new provider will instead be able to manage the process, making things easy and straightforward for you. 

If you’re switching to or from a provider that’s not on the Openreach network, then you’ll have to contact your current provider and cancel before you can organise a new service. 

To ensure that you don’t have any days without broadband when manually cancelling, try to make your final day with your original provider your first day with your new provider. 

How long does a broadband switch take? 

The entire broadband switching process can take up to two weeks from start to finish; however, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be without broadband that entire time. 

This timeframe depends on the providers you’re switching between, as going from an Openreach network user to another will typically be a lot quicker. Plus, if you need to have new equipment and a new cable installed by an engineer, that can also prolong the process. 

When going through the process of organising a switch, that should only take a maximum of two phone calls, one to organise your new service and one to cancel if you need to do that. Some providers can be a bit tough to cancel from and will force you through a lengthy process, but you should have your switch organised within a day. 

Once your new broadband is in place, you should also allow a few days for it to get up to speed as it settles. You may experience periods of slowdown or not as quick broadband as you paid for, but this should change after a while. When this is happening, it’s important not to disconnect your router.

What is a good broadband speed to switch to?

The speed you switch to depends on your personal needs and how you plan to use the internet. 

Most people will be attracted to the fastest internet speeds possible; however, those extreme speeds may not be necessary if you’re not constantly using them. 

For example, suppose you’re a light internet user who only connects to check the news, browse emails, and online shop while living alone. In that case, you will only need around 10Mbps of speed, meaning that you can get by with the cheapest broadband available. 

However, if you stream video and download games from the internet, you’ll need something closer to 30Mbps to handle those demands. 

If you’re getting broadband for a family of users where people are likely to be streaming video at once while also connecting online for gaming, then you may need a more robust speed of 60Mbps to ensure that there’s no buffering or slowdown. 

If you’re a serious internet user who streams in 4K and who may have to conduct conference calls, for greater reliability, it may be best to get broadband at speeds of 100Mbps. 

Plus, if you’re looking to get broadband for a business with multiple staff members using internet applications at once, then you may be required to get premium broadband that can deliver speeds over 100Mbps. 

The best speeds for you to switch to are relative to your needs, so if you’re switching because your previous package wasn’t fast enough for you, then you may need to consider a package that offers better speeds. 

What information do I need to switch?

When switching to a new provider, you’ll need a few details and pieces of information to make it as seamless as possible. 

Before looking at providers, you’ll first need to know which ones offer good enough services for your area. This can stop you from switching to a provider that’s unable to give you the quality of internet that you want. 

Once you’ve settled on your provider, you’re going to need to give them your basic information like your address, personal details such as your name, age, and marital status, and then your bank account so that they can take direct debits from it. 

You’ll likely also have to provide a date that you’d like the broadband from your new service to be activated. If you’re switching from an Openreach provider and already have a router, then this can be as soon as they’re able to do so. However, if you need a new router from the provider, make sure that the date you choose is after it is scheduled to arrive. 

If switching from a provider not on Openreach, you’ll need to give your new provider a start date that is on or after your original service has ended, so you must remember it.