Switching broadband providers is usually simple and straightforward. According to the research from the National Consumer Agency, broadband is the utility that consumers in Ireland are most likely to switch - after electricity and gas. What’s more, over 80 per cent of respondents said they found the switching process either "easy" or “very easy”.
Switching to a new ADSL connection
ADSL - which comes in over a phone line - is the most common type of broadband, and there are plenty of suppliers who have access to the telephone network on which it is transmitted. Because of this, it’s very easy to switch from one ADSL provider to another (e.g. eir to Vodafone) and no-one will have to visit your premises or change or add new cables or equipment.
In some cases, you will receive a different modem, but these are usually so easy to install that most providers will just deliver the equipment to you, along with very simple installation instructions.
Switching to a new cable connection
If you are changing from ADSL to cable or another type of broadband,then someone may need to visit your home to install equipment or cabling. However, you may actually receive service from your new supplier even more quickly than you would if you were switching between two ADSL providers. That's because one service doesn't need to be cancelled to allow another service to work.
What is a UAN (Universal Account Number)?
A Universal Account Number is an 8-digit code, unique to every phone number, that is used to transfer a broadband connection or phone number from one supplier to another.
In order to switch from one ADSL provider to another you will usually need to provide your UAN to your new supplier before they can complete the transfer.
To find out how to locate your UAN, check out our What is a UAN? guide.
Can I keep my phone number if I switch broadband providers?
You can usually keep your current phone number if you are switching. Once you have provided your UAN, you will need to complete a Phone Number Porting Form which gives your new provider the authority to request your number from your old supplier.
You can also keep your phone number if you are switching connection types (say between ADSL and cable). Again, you will need your UAN and you will need to complete a Phone Number Porting Form.
If you are changing broadband connection type, your new service may be installed before your old service releases your number. In that case, you will be issued with a temporary phone number until your old number becomes available.
Phone Number Porting Forms should generally be completed after you have completed an application with your new provider. But don’t worry, you won’t lose your number – it cannot be allocated to anyone else until six months after your old service has been cancelled.
Do I need to cancel my existing service before switching?
It depends. If you are switching from one ADSL provider to another, it is better to allow your new supplier to take care of the cancellation process for you. However, if you are switching from one connection type to another, you will need to cancel your old service yourself.
Some contracts can run for as long as two years, so do ensure that you are not within a contract with your current provider. If you switch while still under contract, penalties may apply and you may even be asked to pay for the remainder of your service period.
It is also a good idea to look at your prospective new supplier to see if there is a minimum contract period, whether you need to give a cancellation notice, and if there are any penalties for ending a contract early.
I'm ready to switch, what do I do next?
When you are ready to sign up to a new broadband provider, visit the Compare Broadband, TV and Phone page on bonkers.ie. Usually all that is required is a short application form and everything else will be taken care of for you. In some cases, you may receive a verification phone call after you complete your application.
When switching to cable broadband, the process can take just a few days. When switching from one ADSL supplier to another, the process usually takes a couple of weeks.
Can I change my mind?
If you change your mind after completing an application for a new provider, a cancellation period of 14 days applies during which you can cancel without incurring any penalties. This cancellation period is required by The Commission for Communications Regulation and applies to all suppliers.
If you do cancel, it is a good idea to follow up in writing or by email so that it can be verified later if needed.
Broadband switching is a well-practised process and generally goes smoothly. Often it is as simple as unplugging one modem and plugging in a new one on a specific date.
Good luck and happy switching!