Here’s How to Switch Internet Plans & Providers

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.

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

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.

Internet usage(for an average household with few devices)

Speeds required
(per device)

Speeds
recommended

Online gaming

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.

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?

Internet type

Transmission type

Download Speeds

Upload Speeds

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

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:

Provider

Early termination fee

No-contract option

View plans

EarthLink

Up to $200, once-off

No

AT&T

Up to $180, once-off

Yes

Spectrum

None

Yes

Frontier

Up to $400, once-off

Yes

Viasat

$15 to 20 per remaining month

Yes

HughesNet

up to $400, once-off

No —minimum contract of 24mth

Century Link

None

Yes

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: https://www.inmyarea.com/

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, here: https://homelinkd.com/comparisons.html

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