Finding the best broadband deal can save you money - especially if you’ve been with the same provider and on the same deal for many years.
By making some simple searches you can secure a better broadband package, while at the same time free up some extra cash.
To help you on your way, here are some essential tips to guide you to the best broadband deals:
Shop around for broadband deals
Many households buy their broadband from their telephone provider. But all sorts of other brands, such as TV providers as well as standalone companies, offer broadband. As a result, the market is hugely competitive, and there are plenty of deals to be had for new customers and those looking for a new contract. It’s just a case of doing some research online to see what's out there.
Check the costs of different packages when you choose a broadband deal
Broadband can be sold on its own or as part of a package with telephone, TV, or both. That means offers can start to look complicated, and you’ll need to take a bit of time to find what’s best for you.
Don’t automatically pick the cheapest. Why not? Well, some offers include a rock bottom price for the first three months of a contract, after which the price can rocket.
Are you missing out on these great bargains?
Check your area's broadband speed when you choose a broadband deal
Bear in mind that the speed of broadband varies between the deal you choose, as well as where you live. Those who live in rural areas usually have slower internet than those in urban areas.
Broadband speed is also dependent on how far you are from your local telephone exchange, and how many other people in your area are using it at the same time as you.
You can improve speed by keeping the router near the phone socket. And while a router isn’t the height of interior design, having it in, for instance, a cupboard will slow things down.
Does the wi-fi router you choose matter?
Watch out for hidden charges in your broadband deal
Aside from the cost of the service and line rental, broadband providers often add other charges that can catch you out.
Paper billing is necessary for those who like to keep a record of their expenditure. But some providers still charge customers for receipt of a paper bill, warns broadbandchoices.co.uk
Ditch the paper notifications and you’ll be doing your bit for the environment while saving money. There can also be penalties accrued for those who prefer to deal with paper.
Paying by cheque rather than direct debit could result in an extra processing fee. Switching to direct debit will in many cases save you a fair chunk of cash, too.
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Look for good customer service from your broadband deal
When things go wrong, it’s imperative to have a provider with decent customer service that can put things right quickly, sort out your query effectively and get you back online fast.
Happily, this seems to be something broadband providers are constantly working on and trying to improve. Communications watchdog Ofcom shines a light on the good and the not so good in these recent findings.
How to switch broadband provider
Changing broadband provider is a lot easier than you think. Follow these easy steps for stress-free switching to a new broadband provider:
Whether you’re moving house, looking to save money or in search of better service, switching broadband providers has never been easier.
Most broadband deals tie customers into 12, 18 or 24-month contracts. It’s best to wait until the minimum contract period has expired. Otherwise you may have to pay a hefty fee before you can swap providers.
Once the contract period has expired, you’re free to switch to another provider. If looking to save money, try talking to your existing broadband supplier first. They’ll want to keep your custom, so may offer you a cheaper deal or other incentives to stay.
If you’re determined to change provider, follow our simple guide to easy broadband switching:
Read your contract
Check your existing broadband contract to see if the minimum term has expired. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay a termination fee for leaving early. Check, too, if any equipment supplied by your provider, such as routers or TV set-top boxes, must now be returned.
Don’t cancel your existing broadband contract yet, as your new supplier will need to take over the service. If your home no longer has an active line, you may have to pay to have it reinstalled.
Can you get out of a broadband contract before the minimum term has expired?
Look for a new broadband deal
See which broadband providers supply to your area – few cover every address in the UK. Enter your postcode in an online comparison site to see the best deals available for your area.
Think carefully about your needs when choosing a deal. For example, a busy family with teenage children will typically need superfast, unlimited broadband.
On the other hand, if you live alone and use the internet only for email, surfing the web, social media such as Facebook, for listening to podcasts and the radio and watching YouTube, a lower usage deal may be better value for money.
Read the small print
Check the details of your chosen deal so you know exactly what’s involved. This includes contract length, connection charges if applicable, the total monthly cost including extras such as line rental, data usage limits and the termination fee should you wish to cancel your contract.
Is your broadband slow? Read our guide to speeding it up
Seal the deal
Contact the new broadband provider to sign up for your chosen deal and arrange new equipment to be sent to you if necessary. They will also confirm a switchover date. Your new provider should be able to handle the whole switching process for you.
What about my email address?
When you switch to a new broadband provider, you may lose access to any free email addresses that your old provider gave you when you first signed up.
If so, you won’t be able send or receive emails from those previous addresses, or be able to access old emails and contacts saved in your address book. Potentially a massive inconvenience.
Check your broadband provider’s policy. But consider forwarding everything to a new email account before your switch date – just to be on the safe side.
To avoid having to change email address every time you swap broadband provider, switch instead to one of the main web-based email service such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.
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