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When was the last time you checked your broadband contract?

By Alex Tofts

When did you last switch broadband? Have you ever switched? Do you still have the
same broadband speed and contract you had when you first moved in? Are you one of
those paying the so-called ‘loyalty penalty’?

If so, you need to check your broadband contract and see what else is out there.
Otherwise, you could be seriously out of pocket!

According to Citizens Advice, broadband customers are paying up to £9 million per day
just because they don’t switch broadband. The organisation is so incensed, it has
launched a super-complaint to have it stopped.

But it isn’t just up to Citizens Advice to make sure you don’t overpay. We all have a
responsibility to check.

You can do that manually or by using apps such as Nova. Nova and apps
like it can automatically track your recurring outgoings and alert you if you could save

Is your broadband contract at an end?

Your broadband contract involves two phases. The fixed-term part, where you’re locked
in and the rolling monthly part. If you sign an 18-month contract, that 18 months is the
fixed part. You can leave earlier but you may face early termination fees.

You can find out if your broadband contract is over by checking your online account or
the paperwork you signed, or by calling customer services.

Once that fixed-term part is ended you are automatically switched to a rolling monthly
contract. At that point, you can switch providers with just a month’s notice in most

If you’re past the fixed term part and are now on a rolling monthly contract, now is the
time to compare broadband deals in your area.

Depending on the available deals, you can:

  • Stay with your current provider

    If your current provider offers the fastest broadband or more competitive deals, you can
    stay with them. Call them and negotiate a better deal in return for remaining a

    Don’t fall for the ‘New customers only’ pitch. Negotiate a better deal or threaten to
    change provider. Most providers will be willing to work to keep you as a customer.

  • Change broadband provider

    It can take less than five minutes to change broadband provider. It works exactly like
    switching utility providers. Put your postcode into a broadband checker, find a deal that
    works for you and sign up for it.

    In many cases, that’s all there is to it because if you switch between BT Openreach
    providers (such as Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, and others), everything will be done for you.
    The provider will send a router in the post and all you need to do is connect it.

    If you switch to a different network (from a BT line to Virgin Media, for example), then
    you will need to contact your old provider. There may also be an engineer visit required,
    which will be scheduled by your new provider.

Getting the right broadband for your needs

Do you want a faster broadband connection or a lower price? If you find yourself in a
position where you can have both, you’re very fortunate. The majority of the time you’ll
have to choose between one or the other.

If you live in a busy household, more speed is usually the best option so everyone can
use the internet at once without slowing it down. If you’re working from home, stream
TV, play online games or download a lot of files, speed will work best for you too.
If you just use the internet to do a little shopping or keep up with emails, you may
benefit more from a lower price as it’s unlikely you’ll benefit from faster speed.
Bundling up - how to save money with a broadband package deal

You can save money on your broadband by choosing a bundle. This is where a provider
provides broadband, TV, landline and mobile in one package with one price.
If you use all these services, you can make a significant saving by bundling them. If you
don’t use all of the bundle, you will have to look more carefully at costs as the bundle
may be more expensive than buying what you need separately.
Sky, BT, Virgin Media, TalkTalk and Now Broadband all offer bundle deals.

Other incentives for switching

Sometimes, providers will offer incentives such as gift cards, a free tablet or some other
inducement to attract you. These can be a good deal depending on what the offer is and
whether it offers value to you or not. Some of the best deals will offer very attractive
free gifts such as pre-paid credit cards or shopping vouchers worth more than £100.

To see what kind of overall value you’re getting, add up the cost of the service over the
length of the contract, plus any setup fees, then deduct the value of the free gift.

If you haven’t checked or changed your broadband contract for a while, now is a great
time to switch. Providers are becoming increasingly competitive and are offering some
superb deals to encourage you to switch.

Why pay over the odds for your broadband when you don’t have to?

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