How to Switch Internet Providers in 7 Easy Steps
So, you’d like to know how to switch internet providers. While it can seem daunting, it leads you to a more suitable, cost-effective, and reliable internet service.
People are hesitant to change internet providers because they worry about:
- Hidden costs
- Changing the router and other equipment
- Losing their phone numbers
- Downtime until installing the new service
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you that changing internet service providers is reasonably straightforward.
Step 1: Research & Plan Your Switch
Before making the switch, understand the cancellation process of your current ISP. Call customer service for details about any termination fees, return equipment procedures, and the required notice period.
Luckily, many ISPs no longer require you to sign contracts or charge you early termination fees (ETFs). But timing is critical if you consider leaving an ISP with prorated early termination fees. In their case, the ETF decreases the longer you stay. So, if you’re not in a rush, waiting a few more months can reduce the fee you’ll have to pay when you leave.
Since you’re considering a switch in internet providers, you likely have a clear vision of what you need. Choosing the perfect ISP and internet plan hinges on two key factors: internet speed and budget.
Your online activities dictate the speed you require. Whether it’s seamless work-from-home setups, uninterrupted streaming, or competitive gaming, each demands a specific bandwidth. To understand these requirements, explore our tailored guides:
- What Internet Speed Do I Need to Work From Home?
- How Much Internet Speed Do I Need for Streaming?
- Fast Internet Speed for Gaming: The Key to a Seamless Gaming Experience
Your financial comfort zone plays a crucial role. Assessing various plans within your budget ensures you find a balance between cost and quality.
On that note, investigate your eligibility for ACP benefits. This program can be a game-changer, potentially qualifying you for free or reduced-cost internet service. It’s an opportunity worth exploring to make your switch both smart and economical.
Step 2: Check the Availability of ISPs in Your Area
Once you know what you’re looking for, check the ISPs’ service availability in your area. Visit their websites or contact their customer service to determine if they can cater to your location.
Aside from telecommunications giants, also see if any local ISPs are available in your area. Local ISPs typically come with benefits, such as personalized service, local knowledge, and outstanding customer support.
When choosing a new ISP, here are some essential questions to ask:
- What internet speeds do you offer, and what are the pricing options?
- Are there any data caps or limits?
- Are you partnered with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?
- What are the terms of the contract, and are there any early termination fees?
- Do you provide any equipment (modem, ONT, router), and is there a rental fee?
- How does the installation process work, and are there installation fees?
- What kind of customer support do you offer, and is it available 24/7?
- Can I keep my current phone number if I switch my landline service to you?
- Are any special deals or bundles available (such as phone and TV)?
- What is your policy on service outages and repairs?
- Do you offer any satisfaction guarantees or trial periods?
Step 3: Switch to Your New Internet Service Provider
Contact the new ISP, either online or via phone, and select the plan that best suits your needs. If you’re not sure what the ordering process looks like, you can see our visual step-by-step guide on ordering fiber internet services for reference.
Once you’ve picked your package, the ISP will process your order and schedule a time when they can come by for installation. Different ISPs have different policies and current workload levels. Some might be able to install within a few days, while others may take a week or more. At Race, we usually install your service within approximately 3 business days.
Step 4: Equipment Setup
Next step: prepare for installation! While some ISPs waive installation fees, others might include it as part of a promotional offer or as a standard perk in their service packages.
You can usually schedule an installation with a technician in advance. You or someone else over the age of 18 have to be home. The duration of the technician’s visit varies, but it can run between 2 and 4 hours.
Alternatively, you can install the internet by yourself. For the tech-savvy and cost-conscious, self-installation is a fantastic option to explore, provided your home is already primed for internet service and your provider supports it. Most ISPs are on board with this approach.
Step 5: Cancel Your Current ISP
Once the new service is up and running, cancel your current internet plan. That way, you’ll avoid the risk of downtime when switching ISPs.
Step 6: Return Your Old Equipment
If you have rented equipment from your previous ISP, make sure to return it according to their policies. Most ISPs give you the option to either drop the equipment off or return it via UPS. Be mindful of any deadlines to return equipment to avoid extra fees, which can cost up to $300.
Step 7: Download the Mobile App
Many ISPs offer mobile apps, which serve several purposes to enhance the customer experience.
Common features and functionalities of ISP mobile apps include:
- Account & service management, such as payment history and internet plan details
- Data usage tracking per device and profile
- Network management tools, such as guest networks, access control, and parental controls
- Cybersecurity features
- Customer support
For example, Race Communications can download our app, Race CommandIQ, which combines cybersecurity features with home network management. Not only does it protect against cyberattacks, but it also offers parental control options and allows you to monitor internet usage.
Conclusive Thoughts on How to Switch ISPs
There you have it – 7 steps are all it takes to change an ISP. Now that you know how to switch internet providers, you can explore the options that best meet your needs.
Whether it’s speed, reliability, or customer service, choose an ISP that aligns with your priorities. And good luck!