6 broadband switching myths and why they don't matter
We live in the grip of the digital age where connectivity is everything. Fear of being offline has become so strong, in fact, that many of us refuse to switch internet providers.
On average, this means we are overpaying for our broadband by hundreds of pounds each year. Nationwide, this results in a whopping annual overspend of £723 million.
84% of UK homes haven’t switched broadband suppliers. Many of these are ‘out-of-contract’, which means they are free to leave without fear of an exit charge if they wish. The discrepancy between the highest out-of-contract rates and the best new deals on the market is around £300 a year. This proves that many of us could stand to make big savings. And yet, only 2.8 million homes switch broadband deals each year. When compared to the 5.5 million that switch energy deals, this identifies a real problem.
Moreover, a string of recent surveys from organisations such as Ofcom, EY and Which? has found a significant portion of consumers who are not happy with their current broadband provider, service, or package but are still hesitant to switch.
So what’s keeping so many people from switching providers and saving themselves money? We delved into the research and found six myths that surround the process of switching broadband and are hoping to bust them once and for all.
Myth 1: "It's too much hassle"
One of the biggest reasons why consumers are missing out on competitive broadband deals is because switching providers is regarded as “too much hassle”. According to a survey by Which?, 32% of people consider the process of switching “too much hassle”, so much so that only a third of respondents said they were likely to switch, and almost 50% were still with the first provider they ever signed up with. In addition, of the 8,000 people surveyed by Which?, only 43% were actually satisfied with their current broadband provider and did not want to explore other options.
In reality, according to this recent report by Ofcom, the vast majority — 93% — of all broadband orders were actually completed on time, with just 15 days required to complete a broadband switch in 2019.
In most cases, switching broadband is almost entirely provider-led, so you will only need to contact your new provider to arrange start/end dates and the provider will do the rest. The only exception to this rule is Virgin Media, where customers will need to contact both providers if they’re switching to or from Virgin.
Myth 2: "I'll lose my access"
A very long time ago, the switching process was indeed long and complicated. You had to get in touch with both your new and current provider and coordinate start/end times yourself, which often left customers without a working broadband connection for days.
However, nowadays, although a typical switch still can result in a short loss of service, it’s a matter of minutes rather than days. On the day your switch is scheduled to take place, you can lose your connection for up to an hour, but anything above that is outside of the norm.
Just keep in mind that the vast majority of broadband switching is provider-led these days, meaning that you only need to tell your new provider when you want to switch and they take care of everything else. According to Ofcom, 93% of new broadband orders are completed on time, reducing the likelihood of any interruption in service.
Remember: before confirming a start date with your new provider, check if your current provider requires you to give a certain amount of cancellation notice, otherwise you could end up double-paying for your broadband for a bit.
Myth 3: "I'll get stuck with slower broadband speed"
A big chunk of people are worried about slow broadband speed and poor/unreliable connections. According to Ofcom research, 55% of customers complained because of unreliable connections, while 47% of customers were unhappy because of broadband speeds being slower than advertised.
Luckily, massive improvements have been made in terms of access to superfast broadband throughout UK. In fact, 95% of UK households can get a superfast connection, so if it’s been a while since you’ve switched broadband, you may actually get a faster deal and save yourself some money.
These superfast speeds also come with guarantees for new customers, too. In March 2019, several major broadband providers have agreed to Ofcom’s new voluntary broadband speeds code of practice. Providers who’ve opted into this code have to share more detailed information about broadband speeds when customers enter into new contracts, including bespoke speed estimates and a guaranteed minimum speed. If your broadband speed ever drops below the guaranteed minimum speed, your provider is now required to fix it within 30 days. And if the issue hasn’t been resolved, you have the right to exit your contract penalty-free.
If you’re not satisfied with your current broadband connection, just simply check your current internet speed with a broadband speed test and go to our web-app to see if we can offer faster services available in your area.
Myth 4: "Fiber broadband is way too expensive"
Despite the widespread availability of fibre broadband, only 45% of eligible homes have subscribed to superfast services. A survey from Which? showed that 20% of people believed that fibre broadband is too expensive to justify switching.
Depending on your area, the pricing of fibre packages is very competitive compared to traditional copper packages. Thanks to superfast connections becoming more available, the cost of these faster connections has come down by quite a bit. Nowadays, you can find fibre broadband deals for around £22 per month, although we’ve occasionally seen these deals drop below £20 per month.
If you’re out of contract with your current broadband provider, then you’re almost assuredly paying a higher monthly rate than this. The average customer out of contract on an ADSL connection is paying £32 per month, which is more expensive than getting a faster, more reliable fibre connection.
Myth 5: "All the choices are very confusing"
Over 1,000 people in EY’s Annual Digital Home Survey felt like there was too much choice when it came to broadband packages. According to EY, 46% of households are confused by the number of providers on the market, and while 55% said that cheaper introductory offers played a significant role in their choice of broadband provider, 56% also stated that they make it difficult to work out which broadband package is actually the better deal.
Even though broadband bundles allow to combine different telecoms services, like TV and home phone packages, into one bill, this ‘bundle jungle’ can look overwhelming. Unfortunately, the truth is that the broadband market is indeed saturated with many different providers and the offers can often seem confusing. But don't worry, ApTap allows you to carefully look at what’s on offer and our team is working hard to ensure that the bundles you’re comparing meet your needs.
Before you start shopping around, spend a bit of time thinking about the broadband speed you need. You can either look at download times on different broadband speeds, or run a speed test on your current connection and compare from there. If you find your current connection is too slow for your needs, look for packages offering faster speeds. If you’re happy with your current speed, look for deals with similar speeds listed.
Once you have an idea of what you want and need from your broadband service, now it’s time to start comparing broadband deals. You can easily filter out broadband packages that don’t stack up. For example, if you need superfast broadband, then filter out any deals that provide you with speeds less than 30 Mbps.
Broadband providers will typically always give their best rates to new customers as an introductory offer, so always check the price you’ll be paying once that term is completed. And if you’re still unsure of which provider to switch to, check out their customer service ratings so you know you’ll be happy when you switch.
Myth 6: "I'm getting the best deal with my current provider"
Broadband customers typically face steep price hikes at the end of their contracts. Most broadband contracts last for 12 or 18 months, and at the end of that time, we found that monthly prices increase by 62% on average, with some providers even increasing prices by as much as 82%. By doing some mental maths, we can work out that you can be paying on average £152 a year more after your contract ends.
Currently, broadband providers are under no obligation to tell you when your contract ends, so many bank on customers sticking around despite the higher prices. Keep in mind that if you’ve been with your provider for a year or longer, you’re almost certainly paying more compared to people who switch regularly.
Check your broadband contract to see when it ends, and if you’re not under contract, you can likely find a cheaper, faster broadband deal.