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Guide to broadband and moving home

If you're in the process of planning a house move then phone and internet should be high on the list of priorities along with all the other utilities. 

Our guide to broadband and moving home will explain what you need to know to minimise the stress and downtime and ensure everything goes smoothly on your moving day.

Before you move

1. Check broadband coverage at the new address

Broadband coverage varies so it's very important to check what's in the area before doing anything else. There may be a faster deal, or you might find your current service is not available.

You can do this right now using our free postcode checker:

Broadband Genie postcode checker

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Why do we need your postcode?

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you've entered your postcode, you'll only see deals available to that address. We partner with SamKnows in order to bring you the most accurate information possible (see our privacy policy for further details).

2. Find out if there’s a better broadband deal

When checking availability watch out for better offers. You might be able to save money with a different ISP or upgrade to a faster connection from your current provider.

Here are some of the best deals currently available:

Dynamic deal panel

3. Speak to your current provider

It’s crucial to speak to the current provider before making any changes to your broadband.

If you’re planning on staying with the same provider, find out their procedure for moving the connection to a new home. Make sure to confirm how much notice is required, otherwise you could be left without broadband on the day of the move.

Tempted by a better deal? Switching broadband is easy, but if you're still in contract with your current provider early termination will probably involve paying a fee. Check with the provider whether you’re still in contract, and confirm the cost for early termination. Our guide to cancelling broadband has more information, or you can find help with specific providers on our provider hub.

Some providers may waive the charge if they are unable to supply service at your new address, but they are not required to do so.

When you’re ready to move: staying with the current provider

If you're staying with the same provider you will need to notify them ahead of time of your moving date. The provider will handle the activation of your new line and deactivate your old service.

So long as you don't leave this to the last minute it is possible to have the new line activated very close to the day you move in. But you should be prepared to use a backup connection - such as a mobile broadband dongle or tethered smartphone - to get internet access if there is an extended delay.

For more information about phone line and broadband setup, check out our guide to phone line installation and our guide to the broadband installation process.

How much notice do you need to give your provider?

The table below shows the minimum notice period for some ISPs, along with costs and contact details. But you should confirm all costs and terms before doing anything.

Provider

Minimum notice

Cost

Contact

BT 15 days Charges apply for new line or upgrades 0800 800 150
EE 4 weeks Free 0800 079 8586
DST 14 days Free. £29.95 for a new line. 0800 027 3930
John Lewis 7 days Free if new 12-month contract, otherwise £65 0800 022 3300
Plusnet 3 weeks Free if new contract, otherwise £65. £49.99 for new line. 0800 013 2632
Post Office 15 days Contact Post Office for details 0345 600 3210
Sky 2 weeks Free unless "non-standard installation" 0333 200 8000
TalkTalk 14 days Free Use online account
Virgin Media 2 weeks Free unless new box or line needed 150 or 0345 454 1097
Zen 2 weeks Contact Zen for details 01706 902 000

When you’re ready to move: switching providers

1. Check the contract

If you’re not out of contract with the ISP there will often be an early termination charge. Contact the provider to find out if this applies, and how much it will be.

2. Cancel the current broadband service

Ask your existing ISP to end the service when you move out. It is important to arrange this in advance to avoid unnecessary extra costs, and to prevent the line being blocked for the next occupant.

3. Choose a new deal

Enter the postcode of the new property in our home broadband comparison table to see what’s available in the area. Use the filters to view specific packages, such as broadband only deals if you already have TV and phone, or unlimited internet offers (you should find most deals are unlimited in many areas). It's also worth noting that flexible broadband contracts are available if you're not going to be in the new place long. And no credit check deals are also an option if a poor credit score is holding you back.

Potential issues you may encounter during a house move

Moving into or out of a Virgin Media area

The Virgin Media network is different from the Openreach (BT) services used by almost all other providers. It uses different lines so you cannot seamlessly switch from one to another. And it has a smaller coverage area than Openreach, so if you’re currently using Virgin Media you may find that it is not available at the new home. In that situation, you will have to pay any cancellation fees that apply and switch to an ADSL or fibre optic package using an Openreach telephone line.

Usually, when switching broadband the new provider will handle it all so you don't need to contact the old ISP. But when moving between Virgin and another provider you will need to cancel the old service.

If you're moving into a Virgin Media area but are not getting broadband from Virgin you could find the new house does not have an active BT telephone line, in which case there will be an additional cost for setting up a line even if the broadband deal comes with free setup.

Delays

Delays to the activation of broadband when moving are frustrating, but can often be avoided. A common cause is waiting until the last minute to notify the current ISP or sign up to a new provider.

There can also be a delay if the previous occupant has not cancelled the phone or broadband. This will block the line and it can take a week or two for it to be unblocked so the ISP can activate your service (and if you have not correctly cancelled your old line the new occupant of your previous home will be similarly inconvenienced).

In some instances, delays may occur if the ISP is not able to get an engineer to the new property for the moving date due to high demand.

Setting up broadband in your new home

Here are a few tips to help you get the best out of the broadband connection in your new home...

  • Make sure the router is plugged into the main BT or Virgin Media socket (indicated by a logo on the box).
  • Avoid telephone extension cables if possible. If you must use an extension get a good quality rounded phone wire, not the cheap flat cables. If you’re having work done it’s a good opportunity to get it properly set up in the right location so you can avoid extensions (and have the wiring checked).
  • You may find Wi-Fi doesn’t work very well. Thick walls or certain types of construction materials can block the signal. Use wireless boosters to extend the range.
  • If you’d like a wired network for the least amount of hassle you can purchase powerline network adapters. These use electrical circuits to transmit data and require no complex configuration. All you need to do is plug in one adapter next to your router and add other adapters where required throughout the home. You’ll have fast network access without signal problems that can sometimes hinder Wi-Fi.

For further help check out our other guides including Wi-Fi router security, buying a Wi-Fi routerusing mobile broadband at home and broadband for students.

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