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Broadband and moving home guide

moving home

If you're planning on moving, what to do with your broadband should be on your list of priorities.

Whether you decide to stay with your current provider or switch, you'll want to make sure your internet is up and running at your new property when you move in.

What to do before you move

Check your existing contract

Before making any changes to your broadband, you'll need to check your current contract. Broadband contracts come on a fixed term - usually for either 12, 18, or 24 months depending on the provider - before moving onto a monthly rolling contract.

If you're still in contract and decide to leave, you may need to pay exit fees. This is usually the amount you pay per month multiplied by the number of months remaining on your deal.

If you intend to stay with the same provider, make sure you find out their procedure for moving your connection to a new home. At the same time, confirm with them how many weeks' notice is required. If your timing is off, you may inadvertently delay the installation of the broadband connection in your new home.

In the event you're still in contract and wish to remain with your current provider but their services are not available in the area you're moving to, you may still have to pay early termination fees. Under these circumstances, some providers may waive their termination fees, but they aren't required to do so. Make sure to speak with your provider so you know where you stand.

Check coverage at your new address

The type of broadband and provider you can get depends largely on where you live, so it's important to check to see what is available at your new location.

We recommend doing this in advance - at least three to four weeks before you intend to move. That way, you can ensure you have internet access in your new place as soon as possible.

Find out if there's a better deal

When moving, you may need to consider a new broadband deal - especially if you're out of contract or your current provider's services aren't available where you're moving to.

Depending on where you're moving to, you might be able to upgrade to a faster broadband connection, so it's always worth checking to see what's available.

Moving and staying with your current provider

If you're moving and have decided you want to stay with your current provider, you'll need to notify them in advance. Your provider will then handle the activation of your new connection and deactivate the service at your old property.

It's also a good idea to be prepared to have a backup connection - such as mobile broadband on a dongle or through your smartphone using tethering. This will mean you can still access the internet in the event your new connection isn't activated on the date you move in.

How much notice do I need to give my provider?

Below is a list of the minimum notice period, as well as new connection fees and contact details for a number of broadband providers.

ProviderMinimum Notice PeriodFeesContact Number
BT15 daysFees apply for new line installation & upgrades0800 800 150
EE4 weeksFree0800 079 8586
Direct Save Telecom14 daysFree01923 709 709
Plusnet4 weeksFree for new contract customers. £65 if you're an existing Plusnet customer.0800 587 1952
Sky2 weeksFree unless considered a "non standard installation".Use Sky's online 'Booking your Home Move' service.
TalkTalk2 weeksFreeLogin to your TalkTalk account to arrange.
Virgin Media2 weeksFree unless a new line needs to be activated.0345 454 1097
Information current as of 7th November 2022

Setting up broadband in your new home

There are a few things you can do to prepare for broadband at your new address:

Can I bring my current equipment with me?

Usually, yes. If you intend to stay with the same broadband provider on the same deal, your provider will likely encourage you to take your equipment with you when you move.

But even if you intend to stay with the same provider, you may still need to change your equipment. For example, if you’re currently on a full fibre broadband deal and move to an area where full fibre isn't available, you will not only need to change your broadband package, but also your equipment.

If you’re switching providers, your new provider will send you a new router. Your old provider will likely request their equipment back, so make sure to confirm this with them before you move.

Can I keep my phone number when I move?

Absolutely. This is known as number ‘porting’. Simply let your provider know before you move and they'll take care of the rest. However, if you're moving and switching to Sky, you'll need a new number.

Getting the best Wi-Fi signal

To ensure you get the best signal in your new property, your router should be centrally located, away from large electrical items and appliances and away from any thick walls.

As you get to know your new home, you may need to experiment a little with the placement of your router, but placing it as close to the centre of your home as possible is a good start.

Improve your Wi-Fi signal

You may find in your new property that your Wi-Fi isn't as good as what it was previously. Older or larger properties with thick walls, as well as certain types of construction materials, can block your Wi-Fi signal.

A workaround to this would be to use mesh Wi-Fi or wireless boosters to extend the signal in your home.

Network your new home

Networking your home will give you broadband throughout your house without having to rely on Wi-Fi.

If the place you're moving to needs rewiring, it may be a good opportunity to have the property networked at the same time. Check with a qualified electrician to find out the cost involved.

Alternatively, you can purchase powerline adapters. These are small devices that plug into the mains to turn your home's electrics into a computer network. Simply plug one adapter into your wall socket and connect it to your router. Plug the second adapter into a wall socket and connect it to your device. The two adapters will then communicate via the electrical wiring of your home to give you internet access. Powerline adapters provide fast internet without the signal issues commonly associate with Wi-Fi.

How do I install broadband in a new build home or flat?

If the place you're moving to is a new build, it may not yet have any broadband connection. This will mean that, whether you decide to stay with your current provider or switch to a new provider and a new deal, you'll still need to arrange for an engineer to visit.

If you're not sure whether a line has been installed, or know there is one but aren't sure of the type, contact either the developer or estate agents to confirm.

How to switch broadband providers when you move

Switching to a new provider when moving is easy, but it's important to prepare well in advance to ensure you aren't left without an internet connection when your moving date rolls around.

1. Check your current contract terms and confirm any exit fees

If you decide to switch providers and are mid-contract, you'll often have to pay early termination fees. This will usually be the amount you pay per month multiplied by the number of months remaining on your deal.

2. Choose a new broadband deal

Run a quote to find out which broadband types, providers and deals are available in your area. Most contracts are either for 12, 18, or 24 months, so make sure you choose a broadband plan that suits your needs.

If you're moving and intend to be in the new property for less than a year, some providers do offer flexible, 30-day rolling contracts. And, if you're someone who is concerned about your credit score, a number of providers now offer broadband without the need for a credit check.

3. Cancel the broadband service with your current provider

Once you've decided on a new broadband package and know the date you'll be moving, contact your current provider to request they end the service by the date you move out.

The notice period for cancellation differs from one provider to the next, so make sure to give them a call when you're thinking of switching so you can plan appropriately.

If you're out of contract with your current provider, you'll have been moved on to their monthly-rolling plan. This means that, although you can cancel your service without incurring any early termination fees, you'll still need to give appropriate notice (usually 30 days in advance).

Moving to or from Virgin Media

Unlike most broadband providers who operate on BT Openreach's network, Virgin Media uses its own network.

If you're switching to Virgin, your old provider will cancel your contract and you'll need to arrange with Virgin to have an engineer visit the new property to install a connection. If the previous occupier was a Virgin customer however, an engineer may not need to visit.

Depending on where you're moving to, Virgin Media also offers QuickStart - a free self-installation service that lets you bypass a visit from an engineer.

If you're a mid-contract Virgin Media customer and switching because their services are not available where you're moving to, they may waive any early termination fees. This isn't always the case, but it's well worth giving them a call to explain your circumstances.

Moving to or from a provider on the FTTP network

Similar to Virgin Media, 'Fibre to the Premises' (FTTP) - also known as 'full fibre' broadband providers such as CommunityFibre and Hyperoptic build and operate their own networks.

If you're a customer currently on an FTTP connection, because the coverage area of these providers is less than those on the Openreach network, you may find the deal you're currently on isn't available where you're moving to. In this case, you'll be liable for any early termination fees that apply, but it's always worth discussing the matter with your existing provider to see if they'll waive any charges.

Full fibre is the fastest and most reliable type of broadband available in the UK. If you're currently on an FTTP connection and moving to an area where it is longer available, this will mean a downgrade in broadband speeds, as you'll need to move to either a standard ADSL or fibre connection.

Downgrading from FTTP to either an ADSL or superfast fibre connection will mean you'll need to have an active line. If the property you're moving to doesn’t have an active BT telephone line, setup fees with your new provider may apply.

Delays once you've moved

Moving to a new property without a broadband connection activated and ready-to-go is frustrating, but can be avoided.

Whether you're planning to stay with your current provider or switch, make sure to notify your provider well in advance that you're moving.

Delays to your new broadband connection starting can also occur if the previous occupant is yet to cancel their phone and/or broadband service. If this happens, the line will be blocked, and it can take two weeks or more for the line to be unblocked and for your provide to activate your service.

Delays to the installation of your broadband may also occur if your provider is unable to organise an engineer's visit on or around the date of your move.

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