How to switch broadband providers in four easy steps

Lynn Wright / 25 May 2015 ( 18 September 2018 )

Changing broadband provider is a lot easier than you may think. Follow our step-by-step guide 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 four-step guide to easy broadband switching.

Switch your broadband provider

Step 1: 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?

Step 2: 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 tool to see the best deals available for your location.

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 and web surfing, a low-usage deal may be better value for money.

Step 3: 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.

Step 4: 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.

As of June 2015, you no longer need a Migration Authorisation Code (MAC) to switch broadband between most major providers. A MAC is simply a serial number that’s used to identify and track your phone line when swapping broadband providers. Your new provider should now be able to handle the whole switching process for you.

But, if the company you’re switching to requests a MAC, call your current broadband provider. They’ll provide one within five working days.

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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 addresses, or be able to access old emails and contacts saved in your address book.

Check your broadband provider’s policy but consider forwarding everything to a new email account before your switch date. To avoid having to change email address every time you swap broadband provider, switch instead to a web-based email service such as Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.