Here's How to Switch Internet Providers & Plans: A Step-By-Step Guide

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 service providers (ISPs)

There are many reasons to switch internet plans, such as:

  • Currently, you're paying too much
  • You're considering a to switch to a better broadband provider in your area
  • You found a provider who offers a better deal or package·
  • You found a package better suited to your internet usage - offering faster internet speeds
  • You want an internet plan that offers faster upload speeds
  • 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 from your ISP

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

Figure out what internet speeds you need, based on your internet consumption, by looking at the comparison sheet below:

1. Online Gaming

Speeds required (per device):

3 to 6 Mbps, depending on the game

Speeds recommended:

50 to 100 Mbps (for lag-free gameplay)

2. HD video streaming like Netflix and YouTube

Speeds required (per device):

5 Mbps for HD streaming25 to 50 Mbps for 4K streaming

Speeds recommended:

50 to 100 Mbps (for buffer-free experience)

3. Casual browsing & social media

Speeds required (per device):

> 25 Mbps

Speeds recommended:

25 to 50 Mbps

4. Working from home

Speeds required (per device):

25 to 50 Mbps

Speeds recommended:

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 connection type you want - and whether it's available in your area

Now that you've narrowed down your search, choose an internet type that matches the speeds you need and look for providers in your area that offer plans with these speeds.

Many ISPs offer one or more of 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?

Cable Internet Providers

Transmission type:

Electrical current via TV cables

Download Speeds:

25 to 1000 Mbps

Upload Speeds:

5 to 50 Mbps

Best area/available in:

Best for well-developed residential areas. Most common type

DSL Internet Providers

Transmission type:

Electrical current via telephone wires

Download Speeds:

1 to 400 Mbps

Upload Speeds:

1 to 10 Mbps

Best area/available in:

Best for quieter residential areas / smaller towns

Fiber Internet Providers

Transmission type:

Light pulses via fiber-optic cables underground

Download Speeds:

250 to 1000 Mbps

Upload Speeds:

250 to 1000 Mbps

Best area/available in:

Best for busy hubs/cities. Smallest availability

Satellite Internet Providers

Transmission type:

Radio waves via satellite/antenna

Download Speeds:

12 to 150 Mbps

Upload Speeds:

3 to 20 Mbps

Best area/available in:

Best for rural areas. Available everywhere

Step 4: Early termination fees: Determine the cost to cancel your old internet service

Cancelling a contract early will cost you, and internet plans are no different. If you cancel your current service, you will have to pay an additional excess called an early termination fee (ETF) as you have not fulfilled the ISP's contract terms. 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 going to cost you a significant amount, consider waiting until the contract expires. And to avoid ETFs in the future, choose a provider with no-contract options.

HomeLinkd Tip: Many providers will try to convince you to stay once they know you are shopping around, if you're unsure about switching providers, try giving them a call and let them know you're considering looking elsewhere for a better deal. More often than not, providers will ask for your reason for switching and will try and offer you a better deal.

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


Early Termination Fee: Up to $200, once-off

No-contract Option: No

View plan


Early Termination Fee: Up to $180, once-off

No-contract Option: Yes

View plan


Early Termination Fee: None

No-contract Option: Yes

View plan


Early Termination Fee: Up to $400, once-off

No-contract Option: Yes

View plan


Early Termination Fee: $15 to 20 per remaining month

No-contract Option: Yes

View plan


Early Termination Fee: Up to $400, once-off

No-contract Option: No —minimum contract of 24mth

View plan


Early Termination Fee: None

No-contract Option: Yes

View plan

Step 5: Find and compare internet plans and providers

Choosing another provider can be tricky - you might be worried about the monthly bill, the reliability of new providers and whether there would be additional fees.

Thankfully, 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 priorities.

Step 6: Order your new internet 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 provider and 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.

Step 7: Cancellation: Call your current provider and discuss cancellation fees

Once you've decided on your new internet plan and scheduled its arrival, go ahead and cancel your service —finally! Some people wait for 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 to consider when switching internet 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.

Can I cancel online, or do I have to call my ISP?

It's best to call your internet service provider (ISP) when cancelling. This way, you can ask any questions and ensure everything is done correctly.

What do I need to cancel my old internet service?

When cancelling your old internet service, you'll need to provide the following:

- Your name

- Your address

- Your account number

- The date you want the service disconnected

How long does it take to swap internet providers?

The time it 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 internet equipment when I change providers?

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.

Should I always check the fine print before signing with a new Internet provider?

Yes. Always check the fine print before signing with a new Internet provider. There may be additional, hidden costs you weren't aware of.

How can I find internet providers in my area?

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

New service and providers - check internet plans in your area

Don't be afraid to go for what you want. Changing broadband 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.

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