Your quick, money-saving broadband guide

These days, broadband has become an absolute necessity for most of us. We use it to stay connected with loved ones, work from home, and even to access entertainment.

But at the same time, we’re all looking for ways we can cut back on expenses right now. So, what do you do when your broadband bills seem to shoot to unbearable rates? 

As of 2022, there are more than 20 million bill payers paying for broadband on an “out of contract” basis. This basically means you’re not getting any of the deals you were offered when you first signed up for your broadband package.

Out of contract customers typically pay the highest rates because most providers increase costs for existing customers when their term ends, and you don’t benefit from any special offers or discounts. 

Whether you’re paying the ‘loyalty penalty’ for your broadband or not, the good news is there are steps you can take to reduce the cost of your internet connection.

Can I stay with my current broadband provider?

Switching to a new provider isn’t the only way to reduce your monthly bills. If you like the quality of service you get from your current provider, and you’re happy with things like connection speed, you can renew your contract for a better deal. 

Contact your provider and let them know you’ve run out of your contract period and are looking for the best possible deal. You can sometimes even renew your contract using an online account, but if you don’t see a price you’re happy with, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Talking to a rep and suggesting you may be thinking of leaving will often get you a better deal. 

While staying with your current provider is usually the easiest option, and means no interruption to your service, the best deals are generally reserved for new customers from most vendors.

How do I switch provider?

If you’re not 100% satisfied with what you get from your current provider, or you’re happy to make the switch if it means you can get some bonus gifts and better deals, moving to a new company is easier than you’d think.

Start by using a comparison service to see what kind of deals are in your area, and what kind of broadband you can access. 

Switching at the end of your contract is usually the best option, as it means you don’t have to pay a fee for early cancellation. You’ll also be able to ask about the best possible deals on offer for new customers, and might even get your hands on some free gifts. 

When you switch providers, you’re free to do as much comparison shopping as you want, improving your chances of better savings. 

However, the downside to switching is there may be a brief period where you don’t have a connection to the internet while the switch is carried out.

How to save money when you switch

When you decide to switch, the best thing you can do is some extensive comparison shopping. Don’t be thrown off by the promise of free gifts and “limited time” deals from different providers. Compare your options with a focus on the monthly cost you’re going to pay for the life of your contract.

If you find multiple providers offering different deals, assess the extras carefully. For instance:

  • Free setup might seem useful, but it doesn’t always result in a large saving.
  • Are there any incentives or extras on offer, and are they things you actually want?
  • Are there any differences in service you may need to be aware of? 

If you’re not sure exactly what the contract you’re moving to is worth, do some basic maths. Multiply the monthly fee by the length of the contract for each plan, adding any setup costs, and removing the value of your “free gifts” to get the true cost of plan from each provider. 

Do I need to cancel with my current provider?

Usually, you won’t have to cancel the service yourself with your current provider to switch to someone new. If you’re moving to another provider on the same network (many providers share the BT Openreach network), the companies can handle the switchover on their side. 

If you’re moving from one network to another, like from BT Openreach to Virgin Media, you might need to cancel yourself. 

When your provider switches over, if the service is using the same line, your old provider will simply stop delivering internet and other services on the day your new service goes live. When the old connection goes offline, you can plug in your new router. This is usually quite a quick and simple process. 

Alternatively, if you’re moving to a different network, and a different connection from your previous provider, you’ll need to follow the instructions provided by the new company. The old line will usually be deactivated on the date you request from your previous provider. This means it is possible to keep disruption to a minimum by allowing a little overlap between the two.