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Six broadband switching myths — busted

What's keeping people from switching to a better broadband service? We found six myths surrounding the whole process that are absolutely not true!
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We talk about switching your broadband provider quite a lot (it’s kind of what we do), and we know that consumers who regularly compare and switch tend to get the best broadband deals available.

So what’s keeping so many UK households from switching and saving themselves money? Here are six myths about switching broadband providers that you may have thought about and why they're just not true.

1. It’s too much hassle to switch

Probably the biggest myth surrounding switching broadband is that it’s too much of a hassle. 

In reality, switching broadband has only become easier over the years, with the majority of switches taking around two weeks to complete from start to finish.

If you haven’t switched in a while you might be dreading making that call to your provider to cancel, and then the hassle of arranging when one service stops and your new one begins. But in most cases these days, switching broadband is almost entirely provider-led, so you only need to contact your new provider to arrange start and end dates and they will do the rest. 

Things can be a little slower and slightly more complicated when switching to providers that run on their own networks, such as Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, or any of the providers running on the MS3 networks across the North of England. 

At the moment you might still have to contact your old provider to cancel, but Ofcom is working with all UK providers to make this no longer the case with its proposed ‘One Touch Switch’ process.

2. Will I lose internet access when I switch?

Back in the early days of broadband, the switching process was long and complicated, which often left users without a working broadband connection for days. 

With broadband very much an essential utility these days, going without an internet connection is unthinkable to many of us.

A typical switch still can result in a short loss of service, but it’s a matter of minutes rather than days. On the day your switch is scheduled to take place, you could lose your connection for up to an hour, but anything above that is outside of the norm.

As mentioned above, the majority of broadband switching is provider-led these days, meaning that you only need to tell your new provider when you want to switch and they take care of everything else. According to Ofcom data, 93% of new broadband orders are completed on time, reducing the likelihood of any interruption in service.

Again, switching to or from the likes of Virgin Media or Hyperoptic – those that operate on a separate network – you’ll have to organise your cancellation and installation yourself. To ensure you don’t lose your connection, try to arrange for there to be sufficient overlap in provider service.

Remember: before confirming a start date with your new provider, check if your current provider requires you to give a certain amount of cancellation notice. Otherwise, you could end up double-paying for your broadband for a while.

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3. There aren’t other providers in my area

Those of us living in less well-connected areas might struggle to find a new broadband provider to switch to. Certain locations across the UK have historically only ever had one broadband provider available, meaning residents don’t have any choice when it comes to which provider they want to sign up to.

One area where this has been the case is in Hull, a region pretty much exclusively serviced by KCOM for years. This is all set to change with the expansion of the MS3 network across the North of England, as seven new internet providers have become available to Hull residents: 

  • Hull Fibre

  • Open Fibre

  • Link Broadband

  • Octaplus

  • Squirrel

  • Zone Broadband

  • Fiber Zone.

According to recent research, more than 100,000 eligible residents could expect savings of up to £359 per year by switching to a new provider – this works out at about £30 per month.

Not only will these new providers give locals more choices and lower prices, but could offer some incredibly fast speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps via MS3’s full fibre network.

If in doubt, check on comparison sites like Uswitch to see what services are available in your postcode. With new connections being made all the time, you might have more choices available to you than you realised.

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4. Will I get stuck with slower broadband speeds if I switch?

Slow broadband speed and poor/unreliable connections are the two biggest causes of dissatisfaction for broadband users.

The quest for a better-connected Britain has meant that massive improvements have been made in terms of access to superfast broadband throughout the country.

In fact, according to our Ofcom, 97% of UK premises have access to some level of fibre broadband connection. Meaning they can get a superfast connection of at least 30Mbps if not much faster. So if it’s been a while since you’ve switched broadband, you may actually get a faster connection — potentially for cheaper too.

These superfast speeds also come with guarantees for new customers. As of March 2019, a number of the major broadband providers have opted into Ofcom’s new voluntary broadband speeds code of practice.

Providers who’ve agreed to this code are required to share more information about broadband speeds with customers entering into new contracts, including bespoke speed estimates and a guaranteed minimum speed.

If your broadband speed ever drops below your guaranteed minimum, your provider has to fix it within 30 days. After that time, you have the right to exit your contract penalty-free if the issue hasn’t been resolved.

If you’re unhappy with your current broadband connection, check your current internet speed with our broadband speed test and see if there are faster, more reliable services available in your area.

5. Fibre broadband is too expensive

Despite the widespread availability of fibre broadband, there are still around 750,000 premises in the UK without a superfast broadband connection.

Thanks to superfast connections becoming more available, the cost of these faster connections has come down substantially. Nowadays, you can find fibre broadband deals for around £23 per month, although we do see deals drop below £20 per month throughout the year.

If you’re out of contract with your current broadband provider, then you’re almost assuredly paying a higher monthly rate than this. According to our own research on broadband prices, the average customer out of contract on an ADSL connection is paying £32 per month, which is more expensive than getting a faster, more reliable fibre connection.

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Choose between our wide range of fibre broadband deals on Uswitch.

6. My provider is giving me the best deal

You likely did plenty of shopping around when you last signed up for broadband to make sure you got the very best deal. Therefore, it makes sense that the best deal for you then is still the best deal for you now, right?

According to our research, you could see a serious jump in your monthly bill once your contract comes to an end.

Ernest Doku - “Broadband customers typically face steep price hikes at the end of their contracts. Most broadband contracts last for 12 or 18 months, and at the end of that time, we found that they can face monthly prices increase from 39% to 63%, depending on the provider and deal.”

Thankfully, Ofcom regulations now require broadband providers to inform customers that they are coming to the end of their contract and let them know in writing what their new monthly costs will be. 

Check your broadband contract to see when it ends, and if you’re not under contract, you can likely find cheaper, faster broadband deals elsewhere.

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