Broadband: How to Switch

By: J Tillotson

Nowadays, there are so many different choices of broadband provider there's no need to stay with one that's making you unhappy. Thousands of people switch their providers every week, and most find they get a better deal for their troubles.

If you have decided to switch, use a broadband comparison tool to find out what deals are available in your area. Some providers won't be available in your region, so get a clear idea of your options. Take all factors into account, not just the monthly price. Some providers advertise a price of ?6.49 per month, but in the small print state that this rises to ?12.99 after three months, so watch out for any introductory offers and make sure you'll be able to afford the regular price. Also bear in mind the advertised download speed may be much higher than you could actually get.

Switching can sometimes be difficult, depending on your provider, and it's not a simple overnight procedure. The existing provider will not want you to leave, so they may try and stall your leaving by making it difficult for you to contact them - having a separate department for cancellations which is always 'busy' when you try and call them. Your new provider will attempt to make the change as smooth as possible for you - after all, they want your custom - but they also need assurance that you will be a good customer, so they may carry out a credit check before switching you over.

If your reason for switching is just to get a better deal, speak to your current provider; they may be able to offer you a different package without the hassle of changing providers. This will however reset your contract back to the start, so if you're also unhappy with other factors such as customer service, you can turn this new offer down and ask for your MAC instead.

The MAC is the Migration Authorisation Code, and is a 10-15 digit code needed to transfer you from one provider to another. It enables the BT engineer to locate your connection and pass it on to your new provider. The MAC is mandatory for all providers, and your provider will be breaking the law if they refuse to supply you with one. A MAC is free the first time, but you may be charged if you ask for more than one. The code is valid for 30 days from generation, so wait until you are ready to make the switch before requesting it.

Once you have your MAC, make sure you pass it onto your new provider within 30 days. Your current provider may decide to make things difficult for you at this point; they still control your broadband connection so they could terminate it until the switch is over, leaving you without internet access. Try to avoid getting into dispute with them and you may avoid this.

If you are unhappy with your broadband provider for any reason, you are within your rights to switch, but if you are under a minimum contract you may be charged a fee for leaving before this runs out. Check the regulations of any new for the minimum contract period, and make sure you're ok with this before switching.

Slow broadband? Take a broadband speed test and find out how slow your connection is. Search for cheap broadband with a better speed online.

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