They'll send you confirmation emails, and, in most cases, contact your current provider to get your old contract cancelled. Over the next couple of weeks, you'll be given a date when your broadband will switch over, all your official documentation will arrive, and of course you'll be mailed a brand new router. All you need to do is set the router up and connect your devices. Generally, no. In the past, you needed to get a MAC, or 'migration authorisation code', from your old provider and give it to your new one so they can switch you - but there's no need for this any more.
These days, your new provider will do all the running around for you. However, there's one big exception to this. If you're switching to or from a provider with its own network, like Virgin Media , you'll still need to contact your current one to cancel. The other reason you may need to contact your old provider is if you want to cancel satellite TV , as it's delivered separately from broadband. Your provider will be upfront about what costs you need to pay before you sign up to your new package.
Common concerns and worries about switching
Usually, the changeover is speedy - you'll rarely be without broadband for more than a couple of hours at the absolute most. It might be longer if you're switching to or from a cable provider, though. Probably not. The main part of switching doesn't usually happen within your home - and even in your home, it's pretty much just a case of plugging in your router once the connection is live. However, you will need an engineer visit in certain circumstances - such as if your house is new, or if a line needs to be set up.
Your provider will tell you about this when you sign up.
Switching Broadband Suppliers
If you're interested in switching to a broadband supplier with a short-term contract, take a look at the latest short contract deals here. Under the old switching system switching between particular providers could sometimes result in losing your phone number. This was because the same phoneline had to have its service stopped and then restarted by a new provider, as if it was a new line.
Under the new system this should never need to happen so your phone number shouldn't be at risk. All services should be transferred at the same time, so you should only experience a minimal loss of service. In cases where your new provider advises you that you'll have to contact your old provider to cancel that service, this will usually mean that your old service is on a separate line or cable to your new service.
As such, the process of changing phone numbers should simply be Ofcom's standard process for 'porting' a phone number from one line to another. Simply contact your new provider and advise them that you want to port your number. This should work in both directions, for example porting a number back from Virgin Media to BT or another phoneline provider should be no problem as long as the number matches the BT telephone exchange's area code. People can get very attached to their email addresses, but is it worth sticking with a poor-quality service just to keep an email address?
Ask yourself this: The answer is probably no. Some broadband suppliers will allow you to continue to access your old email account via the web. AOL offers this for free, and BT will do this for a monthly charge. However, many suppliers don't do this, and you will need to get a new email address. Changing your email address and informing everyone about it can be an annoying hassle to start with, but is worth it in the long run.
In fact, you can start to do that before you even start moving to a new broadband supplier!
Switching Broadband Suppliers
It's worth signing up for an email address that's independent from your broadband supplier, especially as it means your email address is always future-proofed. If you have to switch to a new broadband provider later on, then you don't have to change your email address again. Gmail is a free email provider from Google that gives you spam protection and a huge amount of storage space. You can access it on the web at the Gmail website, or you can set up an email client on your computer such as Outlook or Thunderbird and download your email that way. Some broadband suppliers will allow you to set up your email address to forward emails on to another address.
This means you can keep an eye out for any services you're signed up for with the old email address and change them, and catch any personal contacts you may have missed with the initial switch. If your current broadband supplier doesn't offer that, you still have plenty of time to inform everyone you know about your new email address before you switch to a new broadband supplier. Then call us!
Our team is happy to help you get signed up with a new provider over the phone on Alternatively you can use this form to book a call back from us at a time that's convenient for you. So you've decided that you want to switch but you're not sure what's involved. Switching to a new broadband provider is normally pretty simple, especially since the new Ofcom regulations simplified the process from the 20th of June Exactly which switching process you'll use depends on what kind of broadband you currently have.
This section talks you through more of the details of the process for different types of broadband. If you're not sure about what type of broadband you currently have, it should tell you on the paperwork your current provider sent you when you signed up.
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You could also call your current provider to find out. If you're happy that you know who you want to switch to, the best thing to do is to simply start the process of switching to that provider, they should tell you everything you need to do and in most cases they'll handle everything else with no need to contact your current provider. Before the 20th of June there were 3 different ways to switch broadband, depending on various factors that were not always obvious to customers looking to switch. Now the process has changed, you'll almost always be able to deal with your new provider who'll then do all the work with your old provider.
The new system is called 'Gaining Provider Led' or GPL and should mean that MAC codes are a thing of the past, and that you'll only need to close down your phone line and pay to have it set up again if you genuinely need different cables to get the new broadband service into your home. If you're switching using GPL then your new provider leads the entire process. You just go to their website or phone them up to sign up for your new service and then they'll arrange for the transfer to take place with your old provider.
If you're happy with the details then you won't need to reply to this letter. Remember, under distance selling regulations, customers have a right to change their mind during the 14 day cooling-off period after agreeing to a new contract without incurring any penalty fees. Ofcom's voluntary code of practice for broadband providers also allows you to leave your contract if you're receiving a much slower speed than you were advised to expect at sign up, as long as you've given your provider a reasonable chance to fix it.
Once your switch is organised, your existing provider will send you a letter informing you how long you have and the process to use to cancel the switch and prevent their services from being cancelled. If you're outside of the minimum contract term you signed up for with your old provider then all you should usually expect to pay is the cost of any calls and usage since your last bill, and, for some types of switch, a small charge for making changes at your exchange.
This will be outlined in the letter you receive. If you're yet to switch, check your contract for details or talk to your current provider for early termination costs. Once you know the cost of leaving early, you'll need to decide if it's worth paying to end your contract, or if you're better off waiting until your minimum term ends.
If there are any problems preventing you from switching after you've signed up with your chosen supplier, you have 14 days to cancel the new contract without penalty. While you should always be careful not to give out direct debit details or fill in forms when you're not intending to switch, if a company tries to force you to switch to a product you didn't intend to sign up for then you'll be contacted by your existing provider who'll let you know exactly what's been switched to which company and the process you can use in the first 14 days to prevent this switch from taking place.
If you have been 'slammed' in this way, you can report the provider in question to Ofcom , or report them to the Internet Service Providers' Association if they're a member. The Gaining Provider Led system can only work in situations where you will stay on the same telephone line with the same telephone number. Most broadband products use your copper phone line as maintained by Openreach a BT Group company to get the service into your home.
So in most cases GPL will apply. The situations where you can't use GPL are when either your current or your new broadband product doesn't use any part of the Openreach telephone network. This will apply to customers switching to or from Virgin Media, as they use coaxial cables and their own street cabinets instead of copper phone lines, or when changing to or from Hyperoptic, Gigaclear or DirectSave Fibre To The Home, as they use a full fibre optic system with no phone line needed.
In some cases bundled products like television services or phone calling features may block the GPL switching process, for example, if phone from your current supplier is only available when bundled with the broadband that you're switching to a broadband-only supplier. If the switch is blocked then your new provider will get in contact to explain the situation and how to resolve it.