It can be difficult to know where to start with cancelling your broadband – particularly with the huge number of broadband suppliers currently in the UK. The good news is that for many of the UK’s biggest broadband providers the process is the same. These companies use the Openreach Network – the UK’s biggest broadband network – to carry their service.
Companies that use the Openreach Network include Sky, BT, EE, Vodafone, Now Broadband, TalkTalk, Plusnet and more. If you have a broadband contract with any of these suppliers then this guide is for you. The largest UK broadband company that doesn’t use Openreach is Virgin Media. If you’re a Virgin Media customer, you can find our guide to cancelling your service here.
Why cancel your broadband service?
There are a few reasons you may want to cancel your Broadband Internet Service. Perhaps the most obvious is if you are moving to a new house, in which case new suppliers and packages might become available that you would like to take advantage of.
There might be a good reason to cancel your service even if you are not moving home. Most broadband suppliers save their best offers for new customers who are still within their initial contract – usually the first 12-24 months of service. After that initial contract is over your monthly price will jump sharply, but even if you agree to re-contract for a discount the price of your package will begin to creep up over time.
There’s no reason to pay more for the same package than a new customer, and so cancelling your service to either switch to another provider, or to allow another householder to open an account can help you save.
You might also want to cancel your internet service if you are unhappy with your internet speeds. More providers than ever are rolling out ultrafast full-fibre internet across the UK which means there could be packages available with more than ten times your current internet speeds.
How to cancel your Openreach broadband contract
The first thing to check when cancelling your service is that you are outside of your initial minimum contract period. This is the period at the beginning of your broadband contract during which your prices are fixed and is usually the first 12 to 24 months you are in supply.
If you are still within this period then you will usually be expected to pay an exit fee, although there can be ways around this. Check the section below for situations where you can avoid broadband package exit fees.
Once you’ve checked that you’re not going to be hit with surprise fees, the next step depends on whether you’re moving home or switching suppliers. If you’re switching to another Openreach supplier then all you need to do is place your new broadband order. As the new order will take over the line from your previous supplier then your old account will be closed automatically. You’ll receive a closing bill by post for any remaining payments and directions for returning your old broadband router. You should place your order at least 14 days before you would like your current service to end to ensure a smooth transition.
If you’re switching to a non-Openreach supplier like Virgin Media or if you are moving home then you will need to reach out to your current supplier directly, either through your online account or by phone. In these cases, you will need to give 31 days’ notice for your current service to end, and you may be charged for a full 31 days if you need to end your service suddenly.
How can I avoid exit fees?
You won’t have to pay an exit fee if you are outside of your minimum initial contract length, so this is the safest time to cancel your contract.
Otherwise, you will also be able to exit your contract without penalty if your speeds are below the minimum guaranteed by your provider. Your broadband supplier is obliged to try and improve your speeds, but if they can’t you will be able to end your contract.
Depending on the provider, you may also be able to exit your contract without penalty if you move outside of the Openreach service area. This mostly applies to those leaving the UK as the Openreach network is available in 99.5% of UK properties. If you are leaving the Openreach area then Sky, one of the UK’s top broadband providers, have confirmed that their policy is not to enforce exit fees. This is unusual, particularly for a major broadband supplier, and makes Sky a perfect choice for those who are unsure how long they’ll be living in one property – or country.