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How to switch to a better broadband package

Uswitch is a useful tool for switching to the right broadband deal for your needs. You could save an average of £162 per year* using our broadband comparison tables, and it's super simple to do.

All you need to do is put your postcode and address in our search box, and we'll show you dozens, if not hundreds of different broadband offers that are available in your area.

Our deals tables will show you a clear view of the monthly price and average speed of each offer, as well as the length of each contract. If there are any promotions such as bill credits or gift vouchers available, those will be clealy labelled as well.

You can also see a breakdown of the costs of each internet package — such as line rental, setup cost and total contract cost — by clicking on the “price details” button.

Make sure that you're happy with the contract length on display and look out for the out-of-contract prices your provider will charge once your contract ends. This information will help you plan the right time to find a new broadband deal.

If the end of your contract is approaching, but you'd like some more time to find the right deal and best internet provider for you, you can sign up for regular email updates from us at Uswitch to get expert insight and advice. We'll also show you some of the latest money-saving deals on our site.

Compare Uswitch's best broadband deals

You can run your own Wi-Fi comparison by sorting our range of broadband deals by a number of different factors, including:

  • Deal popularity
  • Monthly price
  • Broadband speed
  • Broadband provider
  • Contract length
  • Download limits
  • Bundle options

You can also filter out deals that don't suit your needs based on speed, provider or included services to help you just see ones that matter to you.

It's also important to bear in mind the following when browsing home broadband packages from the most popular internet providers:

  • Broadband availability: Very few areas of the UK have access to every broadband package on the market. Enter your postcode and address into our broadband postcode checker to find out what's available in your area.
  • Broadband and TV deals: Broadband and TV deals Bundling these services together could benefit you greatly if you regularly use both, as it will merge them into a single, and sometimes cheaper, monthly bill. But it's only worth it if you actually want to watch enough of the channels it gives you access to.
  • Type of connection: The UK has a range of internet networks, including copper ADSL, fibre-optic, cable and mobile broadband — each of which has its pros and cons. You can find out more information on them below, or in our 'types of broadband' guide.

Compare our best Wi-Fi deals to find the right package for your household.

When should I change my broadband provider?

When you last switched provider, you would probably have signed up for a fixed contract to use the service. These usually last between 12-24 months, and they commit you to use that service for the whole period.

If you try to cancel your home internet contract more than a month before its end date, you’ll likely be charged an early exit fee to make up the rest of the monthly payments you agreed to. However, if you’re cancelling because you have an unresolvable issue with your connection, your provider may waive these charges. But getting them to do this can be quite a long process.

So unless you’re not getting what you paid for, you should usually wait it out until the end of your contract if you want to avoid an expensive switch.

But make sure you know when that end date is, because if you stay on the same package after your contract finishes, you’ll also likely be charged expensive 'out of contract' fees. That's why you'll almost always be fiancially better-off by switching or recontracting your broadband.

Learn more about when you should switch broadband with our guide.

Broadband mid-contract price rises

In recent years, mid-contract price rises have become increasingly common from broadband providers. These price increases could be set out in your terms and conditions and often take place in April at the start of the UK financial year.

If there are any price increases that are not set out in your contract T&Cs, this means you will likely be given the option of continuing with the increased price, or breaking your contract and switching broadband to a new provider.

End of contract notifications

Thankfully, Ofcom recently made it compulsory for broadband providers to let you know when your contract is ending. As you approach the end of your agreement, your provider is required to send you an end of contract notification (ECN), to inform you that prices will increase, and that you can recontract or switch for free.

Read our guide on when you can switch broadband to avoid an expensive out of contract price hike.

If you’ve received an ECN recently, it means you might soon be put onto a much more expensive out of contract tariff. The good news is, it also means that you can switch broadband provider free of charge.

What type of broadband connection do I need?

There are many types of internet you could choose from on Uswitch and elsewhere, all of which have different levels of speed and reliability. Have a read of each of them to see which one suits you best.

Fibre-optic broadband and full fibre

Fibre broadband is the most widely-used home broadband connection in the UK.

It's a faster type of broadband due to its use of fibre-optic cables, which use pulses of light rather than electrical signals to transmit data either partially, or directly, to your home.

This means they can transfer much more data in a shorter time period than copper wires, so you can do a lot more with your internet than what ADSL offers.

However, it's worth noting that there are two main types of fibre broadband in the UK:

  • Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC): The cheaper but more widely available type of fibre broadband, this uses fibre-optic cables from your provider's exchange to your local street cabinet, and then swaps to the same copper phone lines as ADSL from there to your home. Over 96% of Brits can get these connections at their home.

  • Full fibre: Also known as 'fibre-to-the-premises' (FTTP), this is currently the fastest type of broadband you can get, with fibre-optic cables connecting all the way to your home and providing speeds in excess of 1Gbps (1000Mbps). Around 33% of U.K. homes can get these connections.

Learn more about full fibre broadband.

Find out what types of broadband are available in the UK.

Cable broadband packages

Cable broadband is based on fibre technology, but operates on a completely different network to the above types of fibre. It's serviced exclusively by Virgin Media in the UK, and currently reaches about 52% of UK homes.

It uses the same fibre-optic cables as other providers from the broadband exchange to the local street cabinet, but then connects its own 'coaxial' cables from the cabinet directly to your home.

This means you'll need an engineer to set up the connection at your home if it hasn't previously been installed.

Virgin Media's cable broadband is much faster than ADSL or FTTC broadband, providing UK customers with speeds of up to 1.1Gbps (1100Mbps). However, while full fibre speeds are currently about the same as this, full fibre is capable of being much faster in the future. The technology cable broadband relies will take a longer time to be capabke of higher speeds.

Learn more about cable broadband on our Virgin Media broadband deals page.

ADSL broadband

ADSL is the slowest type of broadband that's still widely available, because it relies completely on the UK's copper phone line network to reach your home. The letters stands for 'asymmetric digital subscriber line'.

ADSL broadband is still a great option for small households of people who don't use the internet very much, but it won't be able to handle the demands of most families nowadays.

If you have an active Openreach line, you can either choose broadband packages that offer standard ADSL, which the majority of internet providers in the UK sell, or ADSL2, which is slightly faster but less widely available. But you could also choose a superfast fibre connection if you want faster internet.

ADSL is the oldest internet technology that's still in regular use today, therefore it's also the slowest and, in most cases, the cheapest broadband connection type in regular use.

You’ll likely be able to get ADSL broadband in whichever property you move to in the future. But it’s always good to learn about what you should do if you're switching broadband while moving home.

Mobile broadband packages

Mobile broadband runs on 4G and 5G mobile phone networks, so it doesn't require any fixed-line cables to connect to the internet.

It's perhaps best suited to people who need fast broadband but their homes don't have access to fibre broadband, or those who need to get online while they're on the move.

5G is a newer mobile broadband technology that can offer ultrafast connection speeds roughly up to 300Mbps. But 4G, which supplies 24Mbps average speeds, is currently much more widely available.

Compare our Uswitch mobile broadband deals.

Find more ways you can get broadband without a landline.

Broadband and phone deals

Broadband and phones deals are very common, and it was pretty much the norm to get a landline added in with your internet services up until very recently.

If you regularly use a home phone to make and receive calls, it's definitely worth looking at our broadband and home phone deals page to see if you could find a great bundle deal.

Broadband savings methodology

*£162 is the average yearly savings figure calculated in February 2022 for customers who chose a broadband deal on Uswitch.

Find out more about how we calculate our savings messages at our savings FAQ page.

What broadband package is best for me?

There are several factors to take into account when choosing a provider. Key questions include the speed, the monthly cost, any one-off setup fees and the length of contract you'll have to sign up for. Finding the best broadband package means understanding what you want to use it for, how much you want to pay and what extras are on offer.

How do I know what broadband speed I need?

The two main factors to consider when determining the right speed are the number of users and the expected usage. Here are a few rough guidelines:

  • Below 30Mbps: 1 or 2 users, mainly web browsing
  • 30-60Mbps: 3+ users, infrequent streaming and gaming
  • 60-100Mbps: 5+ users, frequent HD streaming, multiple connections
  • 100Mbps+: 8+ users, multiple simultaneous streaming, large downloads

What's the difference between ADSL and cable broadband?

ADSL broadband delivers data services using the same copper cabling that connects your phone, and requires an active landline. Cable broadband uses dedicated fibre-optic cables to provide services. This makes it much faster than ADSL, with speeds of up to 512Mbps on offer, although its availability is more restricted.