Broadband

7 things to consider when switching broadband provider

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Image Rob Flynn
Staff Writer

When your connection isn’t up to speed it might be time to upgrade your broadband provider with bonkers.ie. But what should you consider before making the switch?

In the final guide in our seven-part series on how to find the best broadband deal, we highlight 7 important factors you should consider when switching broadband providers.

As working from home becomes popular it is essential that you are signed up to a broadband plan that suits your needs. To ensure you choose the correct plan for you, there are a number of things you should keep in mind when comparing the best broadband deals on the market.

You can find the links to the other guides in this series at the bottom of this article.

1. Speed

Speed will be the main reason why many households switch supplier, with the majority of people who switch choosing to upgrade to a faster connection.

Broadband speed is measured in megabits per second, commonly advertised as ‘Mbps’, and Ireland’s leading broadband providers offer average speeds of 75Mbps all the way up to 1,000Mbps.

However, the speeds available to you will vary depending on the location of your home.

What speeds do I need?

Deciding what speed you require will depend on what you need your connection to do, and how many people will be using it at any given time.

  • Broadband speeds between 5Mbps and 10Mbps are required for one person to stream a movie in standard definition, while 25Mbps is sufficient for HD streaming. 
  • A broadband connection of say 50Mbps might suffice for someone working from home alone.
  • A family of four, on the other hand, will require up to 100Mbps or more.

Maximum speeds achievable

When browsing deals you should bear in mind that the speeds advertised only refer to the maximum speed achievable and are by no means a guarantee, unfortunately. That’s why it’s always safer to get a slightly faster plan, especially if you’re not incurring any extra cost.

You also need to consider if your provider is offering you a part fibre or pure fibre/fibre-to-the-home connection. With a pure fibre connection, a high-speed fibre optic cable runs all the way into your home and doesn't rely on old telephone copper wires for any of the connection, meaning your speed will be faster and more reliable. 

To discover if you need to upgrade your broadband to a faster plan, use our broadband speed test.

2. Customer service 

If you’re considering switching broadband provider we'd always recommend that you check out the customer service credentials of any provider to make sure they’re up to scratch. 

How can you do this?

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) issues a quarterly report on the customer service record of the main telecommunications companies in Ireland, which is available on its website. The report compiles complaints and issues raised by customers and investigates what complaints, if any, were justified and how many were resolved.

If you're someone who values quality customer service over big discounts it’s definitely worthwhile to do a little research in this area before making the switch.

3. TV channels

When switching broadband it’s possible you might also want to change your TV provider. That’s why a lot of broadband and TV deals come in one bundle.

Naturally, cost will be one of the first considerations when choosing a package, however, if you’re including TV you’ll want to double-check what channels are included and how many.

Some TV packages include more entertainment or kids channels than others, so making sure you know what you want is important. For example, Sky Atlantic only comes with a Sky TV package and is unavailable from any other provider.

You can browse the best broadband and TV deals on bonkers.ie right here.

4. Technology

As technology advances at no end, the newest and most up-to-date advancements provided by suppliers should be considered when switching your broadband. 

As a broadband customer you want to make sure your internet connection is never interrupted. That’s why companies like Virgin Media and Sky have incorporated a channel optimisation feature into the WiFi routers they provide to customers. This feature makes sure your broadband connection is always on the least congested channel, ensuring you get the speeds you’re paying for.

If you choose to include a TV package with your broadband bundle it’s also worthwhile investigating what set-top box a specific operator uses before signing up as they vary from company to company.

5. Added extras

When you sign up to a specific deal from a broadband provider you might have more in store than simply a broadband connection.

Some companies like to include added extras to sweeten the deal for customers by way of an additional thank you for signing up. Extras range from a physical product to an additional discount off your first bill.

One other important extra, is the incorporation of streaming platforms into TV services and the user interface. Sky has integrated Disney+ into its TV service, for example, while most TV services nowadays include the ability to stream Netflix directly from an app on your television.

To learn more about streaming services, take a look at our definitive guide to streaming platforms in Ireland.

When comparing the best broadband and TV deals on bonkers.ie you can see all the added extras from each supplier before signing up.

6. Contract length

If you sign up to a new broadband deal the standard contract length is 12 months, but this can vary from deal to deal and from company to company. 

Some companies offer Pay-as-you-go bundles, with these plans you do not enter a year-long contract, you simply receive a bill each month based on the amount of broadband you use. You can exit these plans whenever you want. While other plans may be longer than the standard contract length and can last for 18 or even 24 months.

Before signing up to any deal we'd always advise you to look at the length of the contract to ensure you're happy with it. Otherwise, you could end up stuck with the same provider for longer than expected. 

Important to note is that customers are entitled to a cooling-off period within the first 14 days of signing up. You can learn everything there is to know about the cooling-off period in this guide. 

7. Price

When signing up to a new broadband provider, price will be at the forefront of most consumers' minds, and will be one of the main reasons why people are looking to switch.

However, you shouldn't get blindsided by any introductory deals for the first few months and should always look at the total first-year cost. This is the full amount you can expect to pay over the first 12 months of your contract and will include any other charges such as setup costs or installation fees.

On bonkers.ie you can easily see the monthly and first-year cost of each plan. And if an introductory offer or discount is available for the first few months of the contract, then this will be clearly marked too along with the follow-on price. 

Compare broadband on bonkers.ie

To discover the best broadband deals available in your area, head over to our broadband comparison page. 

Once there, all you will need to do is input your address into our broadband availability checker, and we will provide you with a list of the internet plans that you are eligible to sign up for in your area. 

Simply choose the deal that suits you best, and then we can begin the process of switching broadband suppliers. 

But why stop there? On bonkers.ie, our comparison tools will help you cut the cost of your energy, banking and insurance expenses by pinpointing the best deals on the market for you. 

 Did you find this guide useful? 

If the answer is yes, why not look at the other guides in this series? 

You can stay up to date on all the latest broadband news and helpful saving tips with our blogs and guides

Here to help

Have you got any questions about switching broadband provider? If so, let us know and we’d be happy to help. You can get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.