Internet 24/08/2021 6 minute read
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.
There are many reasons to switch internet plans. A different internet plan might spark your interest because
it costs less·
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.
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.
Internet usage(for an average household with few devices)
3 to 6 Mbps, depending on the game
50 to 100 Mbps (for lag-free gameplay)
HD video streaminglike Netflix and YouTube
5 Mbps for HD streaming25 to 50 Mbps for 4K streaming
50 to 100 Mbps (for buffer-free experience)
Casual browsing & social media
> 25 Mbps
25 to 50 Mbps
Working from home
25 to 50 Mbps
50 to 100 Mbps
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.
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?
Best area/ available in
Cable Internet Providers
Electrical current via TV cables
25 to 1000 Mbps
5 to 50 Mbps
Best for well-developed residential areas. Most common type
DSL Internet Providers
Electrical current via telephone wires
1 to 400 Mbps
1 to 10 Mbps
Best for quieter residential areas / smaller towns
Fiber Internet Providers
Light pulses via fiber-optic cables underground
250 to 1000 Mbps
250 to 1000 Mbps
Best for busy hubs / cities. Smallest availability
Satellite Internet Providers
Radio waves via satellite / antenna
12 to 150 Mbps
3 to 20 Mbps
Best for rural areas. Available everywhere
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:
Early termination fee
Up to $200, once-off
Up to $180, once-off
Up to $400, once-off
$15 to 20 per remaining month
up to $400, once-off
No —minimum contract of 24mth
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are some frequently asked questions about making the switch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.