It might seem like quite a lot of hassle to move from one broadband provider to another, but it's surprisingly simple. Plus, it’s usually the best way to get the best value for money. Customer loyalty doesn’t seem to count for too much these days, so it’s worth getting somewhat mercenary when it comes to any subscription-based service. Here’s how to switch your broadband and find the best packages and speeds available in your area.

Check you're not in a contract

Before switching providers, you should check that any contract you may be on has run its course. Usually, broadband contracts run for 18 or 24 months and if you try to leave before that period has elapsed then you’ll be hit by early exit fees. These can be quite expensive, so be sure to talk with your provider to clarify that you’re free to move suppliers without taking a financial hit.

There are some exceptions. If you’re not getting the service promised when you signed up, such as the minimum download speeds that many providers guarantee, then you could be able to leave the contract early without the fee. For example, Sky broadband states a minimum speed on each plan, and if your connection drops below that for three days in a row and Sky can’t sort out the issue within 30 days, then you’ll be able to annul the contract. Similar warranties are offered by other suppliers, so be sure to read your contact to see if you have an easy escape route.

Choose a new supplier

Once you’re sure you can leave your existing contract, you’ll want to check what kind of alternatives are available. Depending on where you live, you may find that superfast fibre connections are available, which can significantly boost your internet experience, or that much cheaper packages are being offered to tempt new customers. A good place to start is our roundups of the best broadband deals, best broadband for streaming and fastest broadband services.

These days, it’s common to be able to get fibre broadband without the need for a landline. As long as you live in an area where fibre services are available this can be a way to get a faster connection and save a little money while doing so (though the old 'landline rental' fee tends to be rolled into the cost of the broadband service).

How to switch broadband providers

Here’s the good part. Switching between providers is incredibly simple. Once you’ve found the new service you want to use, that provider will then contact your existing one and arrange the transference of the connection on your behalf. You’ll receive emails or texts from both parties to tell you how the switch is progressing, plus notice of any outstanding bills you’ll need to settle up to complete the process.

If your current provider is Virgin Media, then you’ll need to talk to both parties to try and make the installation and cutting off of the existing service overlap so you don’t end up with a gap in your internet access.

How much does switching broadband providers cost?

So long as you’re out of contract, then there shouldn’t be much in the way of cost. You’ll need to pay for any part of the month that you’ve used the current service, not to mention call costs if you have that as part of your package. Some providers require a 30-day notice period, such check if that’s the case with yours.

Other than that, there might be a charge for the activation or setup of the new service, but this should be clearly laid out in the plan details, so you’ll know before signing up.

How long does it take to switch broadband providers?

As mentioned above, some providers require a 30-day notice period to end the service, so plan that into your schedule. In terms of the new connection, it varies, but usually everything is completed in around two weeks if all things go well.

It’s also worth thinking about switching your mobile provider, as not only can you often get deals that include this in your broadband contract, but the best deals are often held back for new customers. So, cash in on this poor practice of companies by moving each time your contract reaches its end. Here’s a guide to the best phone network providers in the UK.