Tom Melhuish 8 min read

How to switch business broadband provider

Over a hundred UK business broadband providers are now competing to offer the best service at the lowest price. To secure the best prices for your business broadband, it is important to compare the market and switch to providers offering the most competitive deals.

Here’s our complete guide to switching from one commercial broadband provider to another.

💡 Tailored solutions: While the switching process in this guide applies to a small business like a corner shop, enterprises may require a more nuanced switch (e.g. maintaining static IPs, arranging for leased lines and ensuring multi-band WiFi routers).  For businesses with these complex broadband needs, our experts are here to help you through the switching process.

Can I switch business broadband providers?

The short answer is yes, but you may incur an early exit fee for leaving before the end of your contract.

Broadband providers typically offer packages with a fixed term of between 12 and 24 months, and it is standard practice in the industry to charge a fee for exiting the contract early.

But if your contract term has expired, you are officially ‘out of contract’ and free to switch to another provider.

How to switch business broadband provider – step by step

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, ensures that switching broadband providers is as painless as possible. Here’s our quick step-by-step guide to switching to a new broadband provider.

💡 There is a significant ‘loyalty penalty’ in the commercial broadband sector. If you don’t regularly seek out the best deals and switch providers, you will end up paying unnecessarily high broadband costs.”

1. Find a broadband deal that suits your business

Commercial broadband providers are constantly vying with each other to offer the best broadband deals.

We recommend taking the time to carefully compare business broadband deals before you start the process of switching suppliers so that you know your options at your commercial property.

Compare the deals on offer in terms of price, speed, contract length, and customer service quality.

💡 Connection types: Remember that each broadband connection technology has pros and cons. Read our detailed guides on Cable, Full fibre and ADSL to understand what you are likely to need.

2. Sign up to your new business broadband provider

Once you’ve found a broadband deal that suits your needs, it’s time to sign up and head to your chosen provider’s website.

You’ll be able to complete the sign-up process entirely digitally by providing the following information:

  • Your home address
  • Your current landline number (if you have one)
  • Your email address
  • Your personal details, including date of birth
  • Previous address details if you’ve recently moved (for a credit check)

Once you’ve completed the sign-up, your provider will confirm when your new connection will commence.

Each broadband provider will have a slightly different onboarding process, and they’ll tell you exactly how it works.

3. Check if your new broadband provider will arrange the switch on your behalf

If your old and new broadband providers both use the Openreach network (including BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, Now, Plusnet and Vodafone), then your new provider will complete the switch on your behalf.

In the one-stop switch, your new provider will inform your old provider of the switch. Your new provider will let you know if they’ve done this on your behalf.

If you are switching outside of the Openreach network (for instance, Virgin Media and Hyperoptic) or switching to a full-fibre service, you’ll need to contact your new provider.

4. Contact your old supplier and tell them you’re leaving (if necessary)

If the one-stop switch isn’t possible, the easiest way to tell your current provider you’re leaving is to give the customer services department a ring. Tell your provider that you wish to end the contract on the same day that your new broadband service starts.

Whether you or your new supplier requests the cancellation, your old supplier must send you a letter which states:

  • The services being switched
  • The estimated switch date of your broadband service
  • Any exit charges that apply (if applicable).

You’re switched!

…And probably enjoying faster internet speeds and lower latency at a cheaper price.

Frequently asked questions

Will I lose service during the switch?

Usually for about 30 minutes. Most broadband switches are automatic and only require this short period of downtime. It can be a bit longer if you upgrade to full fibre optic broadband when an engineer will be present to set you up on your new connection.

When you sign up with your new broadband provider, they’ll let you know when the switch will happen and whether you should expect any loss of service.

💡 Uninterrupted switch: Large enterprises with a critical need to remain online can use multi-connection routers to remain connected during the 30 minutes it takes for one of the connections to switch.

Can I switch broadband providers if I’m still in contract?

It is possible to switch broadband providers mid-contract, but you’ll usually need to pay an exit charge unless:

  • You’re not getting the broadband speed that your supplier promised. (In this case, your supplier will typically attempt to fix the problem before they let you leave).
  • If you’re in the cooling-off period at the start of your contract

Broadband providers usually publish their applicable exit fees on their websites.

💡 Speed as an excuse: If you want to switch providers before the end of your contract, it may be worth analysing your broadband performance and reading the contract’s guaranteed performance.

How long does it take to switch broadband providers?

The average broadband switching time is two weeks. This may be a little longer if you upgrade to full-fibre broadband, requiring an engineer to install your new line.

Your broadband will still work during the switching process, except for approximately 30 minutes when service switchover occurs.

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