broadband and moving house

Broadband and Moving House: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
15th May 2016 (Last updated on Monday 21st August 2017)

The internet is an essential utility for modern life. But when moving home, knowing what to do with your broadband can cause confusion and stress which is the last thing you need. In this guide, lay out all your options for your broandband and moving house.

Whether you're moving home and keeping your existing provider or taking the opportunity to switch internet service providers (ISP) and get a better deal, you need to do it the right way in order to minimise downtime and avoid unnecessary expense.

Before the move

Check availability

The first step is to find out which type of broadband is available at the new home. Remember, you may not be able to get the same service or the same speed. If it's going to be slower or require a provider switch, you can look into getting a better deal or perhaps upgrade to a faster connection.

Your existing ISP will be able to tell you what services are available, however they are obviously going to be biased in favour of their own offerings. For the full picture, visit and use the broadband availability tools. This will show exactly what types of broadband are on offer in the area.

Whichever way you go about the research, it is preferable to have the phone number and postcode of your new place for more accurate results. An address search will reveal broadband support based on the nearest exchange, but that does not guarantee a particular service is available to the new property.

Speak to the current ISP

Whether you're planning on moving service to the new home or switching providers, you will need to speak to your current ISP. Find out how far in advance they require notice of a move or cancellation and what charges may be involved. If you're still in contract and planning to cancel, there will be a fee to pay - this applies even if they cannot offer the same service at the new address.

Moving and switching

A house move can be a good opportunity to switch providers for a better deal. Assuming you're out of contract there should be few costs associated with ending the previous service so you're free to hunt around for the best price.

The current ISP should be cancelled according to their procedures, so find out well in advance how much notice they require. Leave it too late and you could end up paying for a service that's not being used. It's also important to ensure the line is cancelled on the day you move out, not only so you have internet access right up to the last moment but also so the line is not blocked for the next occupier.

When it comes to the new ISP, you'll again want to research in advance how much notice is required to setup a new service. Ideally it will start the day you move in but if an engineer visit is required this may not always be possible.

If the previous occupant has not cancelled their broadband or phone service correctly, you might find the line is blocked. Unfortunately, this can take a week or two to clear, but the ISP should keep you informed of progress.

Moving and keeping your ISP

When retaining the same provider, the most important task is to notify them of the move within their usual timescales to ensure there's no lengthy interruption of service. They should handle the rest. Common complications that may arise will be a block on the line caused by improper cancellation of the last service provider, or an inability to use the same type of broadband. There may also be some fees to pay, particularly if an engineer has to visit to setup the line or install the broadband service.

It does get a little more complicated if you have phone and broadband from separate providers. In that situation you will need to first speak to the phone company. They should issue a reference number which can be passed to the broadband company to ensure that phone and broadband are switched and activated at the new address simultaneously. If this is not done the broadband service will be delayed for weeks as the ISP will need to go through the setup procedure as if you're a new customer.

Emergency backup broadband

If broadband is very important, it may be useful to have a backup option in case of any delays. Mobile broadband is helpful here as it's available on flexible short term or PAYG deals, and an inexpensive Wi-Fi dongle can share the connection between multiple devices.

If you'd rather not pay for an extra service, it may be possible instead to use a smartphone as a Wi-Fi dongle. Apple and Android handsets have built in ‘tethering' functionality to share the data connection over a wireless connection. But do check with your network operator before doing this as some providers may require a small extra fee. You should also be extremely careful about usage as it's very easy to get through a lot of data in a short period of time when using a smartphone tethered to a laptop or desktop computer.

Launched in 2004 as the UK's first dedicated broadband comparison service, Broadband Genie is an independent site providing consumers and businesses with practical help, advice and price comparison for home broadband, mobile broadband, phones, TV services and mobile accessories.

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