How Do You Switch to Another Broadband Provider?
Are you unhappy with your current Internet Service Provider? Well, you’re not alone, as customer satisfaction with ISPs drops year after year. While you’ll always need internet, you don’t need to stick with your current provider – especially if your current ISP isn’t delivering the goods.
Interested in exploring your options? Ready to switch to another broadband provider? Making the switch to a new ISP can give you faster speeds and more reliable service – and possibly for a lower price than what you’re currently paying.
In this article you will find out...
When Should You Consider a New ISP?
Bad internet affects just about everything including work and play. How do you know if your ISP is becoming a problem? Watch for these three main signs:
- Slow and unreliable internet. Downloads take a long time, Netflix frequently buffers and your connection drops often and without reason.
- Customer service is terrible. You spend tons of time on the phone, get vague answers and seemingly always have to deal with issues.
- Pricing is high and growing. Your bill always seems to increase, you’re hit with a variety of charges you don’t understand and just feel like you’re not getting a great value overall.
These are all valid reasons to consider dropping your current provider for someone else. But even if you’re happy with your service, you might still want to switch in order to get a different type of internet service. For instance, you might have to switch providers if you want to upgrade from DSL to a cable or fiber connection.
How Do I Find a New ISP?
Check Out Your Options
Your options will be limited by your area. Generally, larger urban areas will have more ISPs to choose from. You’ll want to research carefully. While cable companies are one of the most popular ways to get internet, you can also use satellite, fiber optic service and more.
Keep in mind if your current ISP is also your cable company, you don’t have to get rid of cable TV if you don’t want to. You can simply downgrade your service package, keeping cable and a home phone while dropping internet.
Considering Verizon Fios for your home broadband needs? Check out our page on the latest and greatest Fios deals for new customers.
We also found a deal which currently has AT&T Internet going for only $50/mo. That’s a great bargain offer if for those who live in an area covered by AT&T.
EarthLink Internet, meanwhile, is back in business with high speed internet packages starting at $49.95/mo. They are certainly worth a look as well.
Review Your Current Contract
The best time to switch is when your current contract is naturally about to expire. Canceling an ISP contract early can result in financial penalties. However, this might not matter if your new ISP has prices which are significantly lower than what you’re paying currently.
In some (admittedly rare) situations, you might be able to avoid early cancellation fees entirely. If your monthly bill has increased substantially – as in, more than inflation – the ISP might have violated their terms of service. Another potential violation is average speeds which are substantially lower than what’s listed in your contract. Keep in mind these violations can be hard to prove.
Typically, ISPs aren’t thrilled when you want to cancel early. They might even place barriers in your way. You might have to cancel by calling directly or filling out specific forms. Usually, asking for the customer retention department will get the quickest results.
Plan for Service Overlap
Generally, you can probably time events so you don’t have to go without internet. Getting service started from a new ISP typically only takes two weeks, although it could potentially be longer.
Installation typically takes a bit longer if you’re switching the type of internet service. For example, if you’re upgrading from DSL to cable broadband or fiber optic. Anytime new equipment has to be physically installed in your location, you’re looking at additional installation times.
However, once you know the installation date, you’ll also know when you should cancel your current service. This should help avoid both paying for two ISPs simultaneously without having to lose internet access either.
What About Email Address and Phone Numbers?
Don’t forget about any email addresses you use which are provided by your ISP, such as a Comcast or Charter-based address. You might not be able to access those emails after you switch services. However, email services like Gmail and Yahoo can be used on any ISP without issue.
Your existing modem might not work with a new ISP. Additionally, rented modems will need to be returned if you’re switching to a new company. If you’re canceling early, don’t be surprised if you have to pay for shipping, too.
How Do I Pick the Best ISP?
After determining available options for your area, you’re now ready to compare a few different features in order to choose which ISP will work best for your specific needs. Here’s what to consider:
Look at both the upload and download speed. Generally, download speed is the most useful for the average internet user. Faster speeds let you stream video and download files faster. While upload speed is important, it’s mainly useful if you upload a lot of data into cloud storage on a regular basis.
More speed isn’t necessarily better. If you mainly use the internet to read websites and send emails, there’s no need to pay more for blazing fast speeds.
Your internet speed doesn’t much matter if the service is always down. Definitely consider reliability when selecting an ISP. Online forums are often a good source for honest opinions. Also check if the ISP has a guarantee for service reliability each month.
Typically, the introductory rate will be lower than the regular rate. Make sure you know what the monthly costs will be six months or even a year later. Generally, you can lock in lower rates if you’re willing to commit to a longer contract with the ISP. Also watch out for up-front costs such as installation fees and modem rentals.
If you’re not happy with your current internet service, maybe it’s time to make a change. Fortunately, finding a new, better ISP is definitely possible – and likely easier than you may think. Research the options in the area, compare features between each, and always have a solid understanding of your specific needs. Using the tips above, you can switch to a better broadband provider and enjoy the benefits!