How to Switch ISP Providers

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Switching providers could end up saving you money.

And Ofcom’s findings into the worst internet service providers might just have focused your mind on changing who delivers your internet.

So, is it time to switch, and why would you want to anyway?

The results are in. Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, has looked at which are the worst ISPs, based on the number of complaints they receive.

First, it’s worth knowing that the UK average is 21 complaints for every 100,000 broadband customers. How did the internet giants fair?

Well, topping the table was BT, which totalled 34 complaints per 100,000 subscribers – that means that, for every quarter of the last 12 months, BT has consistently been rated the worst ISP.

TalkTalk came in second with 29 complaints per 100,000, followed by 25 for PlusNet – a subsidiary part-owned by BT. There’s better news if you’re internet’s with Sky, who achieved a fantastic 8 complaints for every 100,000 customers.

Been worrying about your household budget, or thinking you’re not getting a service that’s worth the money you’re paying? Could be time to switch…

Why switch internet service provider

In addition to general complaints, the likes of which Ofcom has detailed, the main reason for switching your internet service provider is for financial reasons.

Indeed, regularly switching any provider is usually a sure-fire a way of saving money. That includes your energy provider and even your savings account, since companies continue to update their offerings for new customers – from new technology to cost-savings, while at the same time upping charges on post-contract customers.

If you’ve been with a provider for a number of years, it’s unlikely that you’re getting the best deal. In fact, it’s possible that, by staying where you are, you’re getting the very worst deal and spending far more money than you should be.

If you want more bang for your buck (or punch for your pound), you want to look into switching.

Is switching easy?

How to Switch ISP Providers

Years ago, companies would do everything they could to keep you – specifically, by making switching as arduous as possible. You’d contact your existing provider for a MAC code, you’d then give this code – a Migration Authorisation Code – which is… a code authorising the migration from one provider to another.

That’s all changed now. Switching ISP is quick and easy, making competition that much more fierce. In fact, once you’ve signed up with your new provider you’ll likely have to do nothing; they’ll handle it all for you – you know, all the dirty work like that awkward break-up letter with your existing provider.

If you want to keep your existing landline number, it’s just a case of ticking a box. It’s even possible to leave mid-contract now, although as you’d suspect, this is likely to incur charges.

If saving money’s your thing, there’s no reason not to switch.

How do I switch my ISP?

First of all, if you think your bills are too high, contact your existing provider. Companies don’t want to lose you, and they’ll generally do what they can to keep you as a valued customer.

As such, staff are often authorised to make discounts to your monthly bill if you promise to stay with them – either making them much cheaper, or at least as cheap as for new customers.

OK, so you’ve decided: You’re definitely switching internet service provider. Now what?

Find what’s on offer in your area. You can either use a comparison website or just hunt down providers – in the UK, the big three are Sky, BT and Virgin – and run your postcode through their system. Now you’ll be able to see what you can get.

Research the deals. All companies will offer a series of packages depending on your needs – from TV extras to types of broadband (either basic or super-fast fibre-optic) to internet speeds.

Between providers, some packages might look identical, so look further into what you’re getting. Will you have to pay an installation fee? Are you charged for delivery of your router? How long are you locked into a contract?

Sign up. Once you’ve picked your perfect package, let the internet service provider know. As we’ve discussed, it’s generally easy to switch, simply by filling out a form and sorting out the Direct Debit.

Your new ISP will take care of the rest. However, be aware that there are exceptions to this, typically with cable companies like Virgin, which will mean a little extra legwork.

For the service you get, for the money you pay, switching your ISP could be worth it.

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Master of the budgets. Provider of the tips. Author and owner of Dumbfunded.co.uk.