Here’s How to Switch Internet Plans & Providers

Yolisa Motha
Internet Provider Comparisons

Gone are the days of sticking to one service provider.

If you've moved house, started working from home, or upped your usage, chances are you're wanting to switch plans.

But is it hard to swap internet providers, and how long does it take?
Just like your needs, internet options change too. There are always more deals, better bundles, and improved speeds out there.

HomeLinkd has you covered.

Just follow our simple guide, designed to make it easy for you.

Internet plans switch: the easy way to switch providers

Step 1: Determine why you want to switch internet plans

There are many reasons to switch internet plans. A different internet plan might spark your interest because

  • it costs less·
  • it's faster
  • it offers a better deal or package·
  • it’s better suited to your internet usage
  • the ISP offers more support
  • you're moving to a new area where your current ISP isn't available

When you’re thinking of switching, take a moment to think about your non-negotiables.

Tackling the “why” helps you know what to look for next.

Step 2: Decide what internet speed you need

The internet speed you need is based on what you use it for. Are you a gamer, Netflix fanatic, or just a casual browser?

Check out this table to figure out what internet speeds you need, based on your internet consumption.

If you have a big family, or a household with lots of connected devices, you'll need to choose an internet plan with at least 150-200Mbps. If you have additional smart home features, start looking at the 300+Mbps range.

Step 3: Decide what internet type you want

Now that you've narrowed down your search, choose an internet type that matches the speeds you need and your area. The four main types of internet access are Cable, DSL, Fiber and Satellite. Each type offers different speeds, infrastructure and availability. Which connection best suits you?

Step 4: Determine the cost of cancelling your current service plan

Cancelling a contract early will cost you, and internet plans are no different. To ease your budget, find out what early termination fee (ETFs) you'll have to pay. Some providers don't charge a fee at all —while some ask for a once-off settlement fee —and others charge per month left of the contract.

If the ETF is heftier than you thought, consider waiting until the contract expires. And to avoid ETFs in the future, choose a provider with no-contract options.

Are you with any of the providers found on HomeLinkd? Here's what they'll charge:

Step 5: Compare internet plans and providers

America has one of the highest Internet Service Providers (ISPs), ranking #1 in the world. So it's important to narrow down your search. Compare the providers for your chosen type and speed, only.

Figure out what's important to you. For example, if it's fiber you want, you may want to sign up with Xfinity as it's the fastest fiber provider, or Optimum which offers the best deals. Make the choice based on your own priorities.

Step 6: Order your new service and schedule an installation appointment

You don't want to be in-between ISPs and without internet. Before you cancel your old service, sign up for your new plan first. Schedule an installation appointment a week before the last day of your old coverage. This is to avoid major overlapping fees or having to go days without connection. If you're moving to a new area, get your internet installed on your move-in date.

6. Cancel your old internet service/plan

Once you've decided on your new internet plan and scheduled its arrival, go ahead and cancel your old internet service —finally! Some people wait a day or two after connection with their new ISP, to terminate their old one, in case there are any issues. It is better to have two plans going at once than be left in the dark —even if it means paying double for a few days.

Please note: This guide is only a recommendation. The order can be changed based on your knowledge of the industry, procedure or recommendations.

Some final things you should know before switching providers

Like any contract, read the fine print. There may be additional, hidden costs to your termination you weren't aware of. For example, returning borrowed equipment.

If you've rented or hired equipment from your old ISP, you'll have to return it to them, sometimes at your own cost. Bear in mind you'll also have to pay a fee if the equipment is damaged, late or missing.

Before switching, check your router and modem compatibility for your new internet type or service provider. You can usually look this up online, or contact a technician at your new ISP for their advice. You may need to purchase or rent new equipment, so add this to your timeline as well.

FAQs about switching internet providers

Here are some frequently asked questions about making the switch.

Is it hard to change internet providers?

No. It's not hard to change internet providers. But you do need to be smart about it. Follow HomeLinkd's step-by-step guide here.

Can I switch internet providers before my contract is up?

Yes. You can cancel your internet contract early, but you may have to pay an early termination fee (EFT). Be sure to check this before cancelling.

Do I need to cancel my old internet plan before switching internet providers?

When switching internet providers, you'll need to cancel your old internet plan. It's best to order and install your new internet plan first before cancelling your old service. This way, you remain connected for the entire process.

How long does it take to swap internet providers?

The time is takes to swap ISPs depends on the providers and your ZIP code. But in general, it can take anywhere from 48 hours to 2 weeks.

Do I need to return my old router when I change provider?

Maybe. If you've rented your equipment from your old provider, you'll need to return it when you cancel. Make sure you return it undamaged and on time, or they'll incur a penalty fee.

How can I find internet providers in my area?

You can check which ISPs are available to you with your area code. Plug in your ZIP-code on this commonly-used site to see:
Which ISPs are available to you

Change providers -check internet plans in your area

Don't be afraid to go for what you want. Changing internet plans isn't hard, but it does take some planning and research. Once you've put in the work, your new-and-improved internet plan will be worth it, we promise.

Check your internet plan options on Homelinkd’s comparisons page.

Written by:
Yolisa Motha
Senior Copywriter

Yolisa is a word artist who's on a quest to help businesses make an impact so powerful - it causes a ripple effect. If Yolisa isn't painting pictures with her words, you'll find her hiking up a mountain or soaking up the beach sun.

Discover the Best Plans for You

We have a wide selection of plans to choose from, so you can find and select the perfect one to suit your needs.

There's a deal for with fast, reliable and secure internet. With dozens of plans and bundle offer to choose from, you'll be spoilt for choice.

CenturyLink is your trusted provider of internet, home phone, and TV services. Whether you're at home or on the go, CenturyLink offer fast and reliable internet.

Get fast speeds, more data, and bigger savings on Viasat's reliable home internet plans!

EarthLink offer high-speed internet that’ll always keep you connected whether you're streaming your favorite shows or video chatting with friends.

AT&T offer you a variety of options to get the high-quality services you require, including DSL, fiber optic and fixed wireless networks, streaming and satellite TV services, and extensive 5G coverage.

Frontier, a leading provider of high-speed internet, TV, and phone services, offer various plans to fit your needs and budget.