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Switching broadband is simple. But to make the process even easier and ensure you’ve got all the information you need, here we’ve answered the questions we’re most often asked by uSwitch site users.
What is broadband?
Broadband is any type of high-speed internet access — typically ADSL, fibre, cable or mobile — that’s faster than a dial-up connection and is always on.
What are the different types of broadband?
The three main types of broadband are:
What do I need to get broadband?
It depends on the type of broadband you’re getting. Typically, broadband requires an active phone line, hence the ‘line rental’ charges. Both ADSL and fibre broadband use copper wires to deliver broadband from the cabinet to your home. Most providers can install this for a fee, though, so if you don’t already have a phone line, you can still get broadband. If you have cable broadband or ‘full fibre’ broadband, you don’t need a phone line.
Can I switch at any time? Are there any restrictions?
If you’re out of contract you can switch broadband provider at any time and won’t be liable for any early termination charges.
However, if you’re still within your contract term or haven’t reached the minimum period that your provider insists on, it’s likely you’ll have to either pay up your contract or pay a charge.
The exception is if, during the contract term, the provider you want to leave increases the price of the monthly subscription you agreed to when you signed up. In this case you’re free to leave without any financial penalty.
How do I know if I’m out of contract?
Ideally you’ll have noted down when your contract started. At uSwitch, we offer a contract reminder service for account holders. But if you haven’t recorded the start date, don’t worry — just ring your provider and ask. They’re legally obliged to tell you if you’re still under contract, as well as when your contract ends.
Will I lose my broadband service at any stage?
That depends on which type of provider you’re switching to and switching from.
If you're switching between providers on the Openreach network — which covers a lot of major providers, including BT, TalkTalk, Plusnet and Sky — switching is seamless and easy. Simply contact your new provider and they'll coordinate the start date with your current provider. This should result in minimal downtime for you.
To switch to or from Virgin Media, you'll need to contact both providers and coordinate the start and end dates to avoid overlap or downtime.
Do I need a MAC code to switch broadband?
No. MAC codes used to be a part of the switching broadband process but have since been scrapped. They were abolished in a bid to streamline broadband switching for consumers.
Want to know more about switching broadband deals? Head to our dedicated guide.
How do I know which broadband deals are available to me?
While millions of Britons who live in cities get to choose from a host of ADSL, mobile and fibre broadband deals and providers, others aren’t so lucky.
To see which broadband deals are available to you, use our broadband postcode checker. Just insert your postcode in the text box provided and it’ll show you all the broadband deals on offer at your address.
Most of the deals on our tables are for new customers only. If you tell us who your current provider is, we can filter out new customer deals and show you any existing customer deals we currently have.
Which broadband is best?
It depends on your household needs.
Fibre broadband deals — such as Virgin Media’s Vivid service, BT Infinity and top-end products from the likes of Sky, TalkTalk and Plusnet — provide the fastest home broadband connection, which is ideal for large households or heavy broadband users.
Sign up for fibre broadband and you can expect to stream TV smoothly and uninterrupted (even when it’s HD programming). You’ll also get a much better online gaming experience, with no annoying ‘slowdowns’ in the action.
But the catch is that fibre broadband isn’t available in some locations. If that’s the case in your area, you’ll need to consider a standard ADSL broadband deal. Or even mobile broadband or satellite broadband.
How do I compare broadband deals?
This is where our broadband comparison tables come in. Using these, you can filter by speed, price, contract length and download limit to make it easier to find the broadband deals that most closely meet your criteria.
We’ve also got dedicated pages that list broadband deals if you’re an existing customer and want to add services to your existing broadband bundle.
Ready to see what’s available? Head here to compare the best broadband offers.
For the past 11 years, uSwitch has polled customers and expert judges to determine the best in broadband. This year, we polled over 10,000 broadband customers to decide the winners in our consumer-voted award categories, including Broadband Provider of the Year, Best Provider Customer Service and Quad-play Provider of the Year.
Our expert judges — including industry experts and tech journalists — weighed in on Best Triple Play Provider, TV Provider of the Year and Best Smart Media Device.
To determine our Fastest Broadband Provider, we used results from our broadband speed test.
|Broadband & TV Categories||Winner||Highly commended|
|Best Triple Play Provider||Now TV||BT|
|Best Provider Customer Service||Plusnet||Vodafone|
|Best Smart Media Device (judges’ award)||Amazon Fire Stick||Google Chromecast|
|Best TV Content (judges’ award)||Netflix||Sky|
|Best TV Streaming Service (judges’ award)||Netflix||Now TV|
|Best Value Broadband Provider||Vodafone||Plusnet|
|Broadband Provider of the Year||Vodafone||Plusnet|
|Fastest Broadband Provider||Virgin Media||BT|
|TV Provider of the Year||Now TV||EE|
|Most Popular Broadband Provider||TalkTalk||BT|
|Mobiles, Broadband & TV Categories||Winners||Highly Commended|
|Telecoms Innovation Award (judges’ award)||Google Pixel 3 - Night Sight Mode||Huawei Mate 20 Pro - Reverse Wireless Charging|
|Quadplay Provider of the Year||Sky||EE|
To see our uSwitch Award winners in Mobiles and to find out more about our awards, visit our dedicated uSwitch Awards page.
With millions of visitors and switches every month plus exclusive home and mobile broadband deals to suit every budget and need, uSwitch Broadband is the UK’s number one broadband comparison site.
We scour the entire market and the leading broadband providers to bring you the top broadband, TV and home phone offers and use our market position to secure market-leading exclusive deals that you won’t find anywhere else.
So if you’re looking for a top-of-the-range TV bundle or want to check out great value broadband only deals, we’re confident we’ve got what you’re looking for.
Compare broadband deals now on our best broadband deals comparison page.
To take the strain out of switching, our comparison tables highlight the offers recommended by our team of broadband experts. You can buy with absolute confidence and be certain you’re getting the best broadband deal.
Want to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for? uSwitch’s broadband speed test is free to use and lets you check the speed of your home or mobile broadband connection in seconds.
It can also tell you how your broadband speed compares with other homes in your area, as well as other providers so you can see exactly what’s available to you.
Updated daily, our news section keeps you abreast of everything from surveys of the fastest broadband providers and new money-saving offers to ongoing drive to improve super-fast broadband coverage across the UK.
You’ll also find handy guides to help you make informed buying decisions and bite-sized breakdowns that get you up to speed with new broadband technology.
Need more help? We also have longer, more dedicated guides to help you out.
If you need to know the difference between standard ADSL broadband and fibre broadband or want some tips on switching broadband, this is where you’ll get the assistance you’re looking for.
When you sign up for broadband through uSwitch we’re paid a fee in commission from the broadband provider you choose.
The commission income enables us to offer a free service to compare broadband deals and allows us to develop broadband comparison tools we offer on the site.
Decided by public vote and an expert panel of judges, the annual uSwitch broadband awards are the industry’s most respected, prestigious awards.
If we name a provider as the UK’s best for home broadband, mobile broadband or customer service, you can be sure it’s an award that’s well merited.
Want to see who was named best broadband provider? Find out the answer and much, much more at our dedicated broadband awards page.
Free tech goodies from BT and Virgin Media and one of the UK's cheapest broadband offers are among our best deals of the week.
As of April 1st, broadband and phone customers are entitled to automatically receive compensation for issues with their service.
Sky TV and broadband users can expect to see their bills increase Monday as a range of price increases come into effect.