Things to Consider Before the Switch
While switching providers should be easy, there are some things to think about before you get started
Why are you switching?
If you’re switching because your broadband provider isn’t providing the service you want, then it’s probably a good idea to start comparing other plans. But if you’re switching because you’re paying too much, try asking your provider for a better deal.
You may be able to transfer to a different broadband plan from the same provider, or they may offer you a lower price. This isn’t always possible, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Broadband internet connections require a modem, which may be owned by you or your provider. You may also have a wireless router, though this capability is often built into modern modems.
The cost of a modem is often included in the price of your plan, so you don’t have to worry about providing it yourself. For example, NBN plans often come with an NBN-ready modem. If you’re upgrading from ADSL to the NBN, you may need to upgrade your modem as well.
Internet service providers love to bundle your phone, internet, and entertainment packages together. It’s convenient, but it also gives you something to think about when you’re switching. The good news? It can also be a further opportunity to save.
If you’re paying for Foxtel or Netflix but not using it, you may not need this service when you switch providers. On the other hand, if you want to keep these services, you can look for plans that offer a bundling discount.
Personal contact details
Your landline number and email address may be connected to your broadband provider, and you’re probably not too keen to change them. Fortunately, landline numbers can usually be carried over, as long as you let your new provider know that this is your preference before you cancel your current contract.
Email addresses can present more of a challenge. If your email server is your broadband provider, then there’s a chance it will be cut off when you switch. If this is the case, you’ll need to arrange for a new email address and migrate your contacts over.
Telstra’s bigpond email addresses are an example of this; customers are able to keep the email address for 12 months after leaving Telstra, but have to pay an annual fee to keep it after that.
This may seem like a lot to think about, but in reality these issues are usually resolved very smoothly. Now let’s look at how you can switch broadband providers.
Step 1: Shop Around for a Better Deal
Ready to switch broadband providers? Great! The first step is to compare broadband plans to find one that you like. While this might sound like an overwhelming task—there are so many providers on the market!—online comparison tools have streamlined the process.
Your options will depend on several factors, beginning with your location. Where you live dictates the type of internet connection available to you, whether that’s the NBN, ADSL, cable, or satellite.
The type of connection you have will in turn determine the plans available to you. When comparing plans, here are some things to look out for:
- Contract length
- Connection speed
- Data allowances
- Fees or set-up costs
Think about your internet usage and use that information to pick a plan that suits your household. For example, a family of five who is often online will likely need more data and faster speeds than a couple who only uses the internet to check their email.
All plans should have a ‘critical information summary,’ which describes the plans in detail. Read these documents carefully for information on what costs are involved.
Found a plan you like? Proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Contact Your Preferred Provider
Now it’s time to reach out to your new broadband provider. There are a few ways you can do this.
If you’ve compared broadband plans online, you’ve probably seen the option to purchase a plan the same way. Most companies will have an option to set everything up online. If you have questions or want to confirm details, check the ‘contact us’ section of the provider’s website for other options, like over the phone, online chat, or even social media.
Some of the larger broadband providers—Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone—have shopfronts where you can go and organise your new plan in person. However, many providers do not have a physical presence.
Over the Phone
Prefer to talk to a person than do things online? You may be able to arrange the switch over the phone. Even if a broadband provider doesn’t have a shopfront, they are likely to have a customer service line.
Keep in mind that some deals are only available online, but that doesn’t prevent you from asking questions in person or over the phone. Remember to let your new provider know if you want to transfer over an existing phone number.
Step 3: Schedule the Switch
Switching broadband providers shouldn’t leave you without internet for long, if at all. Many broadband providers participate in the Rapid Transfer process, which allows you to switch between ADSL providers with virtually no downtime. As a bonus, connection fees are often waived.
Even if you are switching from ADSL to the NBN, you can reduce downtime by keeping your current service up to the time it takes to install the new service. Mobile broadband is one of the quickest ways to switch, because there is virtually no installation required; it’s very similar to setting up a mobile phone.
|ADSL to NBN||Up to 10 days if technician is required|
|ADSL to ADSL||Up to 4 hours with Rapid Transfer|
|NBN to NBN||No downtime|
|Any to Mobile Broadband||No downtime|
Contact your new provider to arrange a date and time for the switch to take place. This may involve a technician coming to the premises, or it can be done for you behind the scenes.
Step 4: Cancel Your Old Plan
If you’re switching providers on the NBN, your old plan may be automatically cancelled for you. However, you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the old plan is cancelled. The last thing you want is to pay for two internet plans at the same time!
Once your new connection is up and running, contact your old provider to officially cancel the old plan. Since you already checked on any fees associated with cancelling, there shouldn’t be any unexpected costs.