4 straightforward steps to switching NBN providers

4 simple steps you need to take to embrace the churn from one NBN provider to another.

Switching NBN providers in short

Because of an industry-wide agreement, switching between NBN providers is, mercifully, a straightforward task. Pick your new provider based on improving your current pain points and improving your ’net needs. Next, check your current provider for any hidden costs and consider adjusting your exit timing accordingly. Sign up with your new provider, then cancel with your existing one.

Maybe your NBN download speeds aren’t up to snuff. Perhaps you’re fed up with your current provider. Or it could be you’ve just sniffed out a fantastic deal on our regularly updated best NBN internet plans rundown.

Whatever the reason, churning is the fancy term used for switching from one provider to another. The good news: it’s a surprisingly painless process care of an industry-wide agreement between providers. This agreement means that switching from one to another is a speedy and straightforward process that can mean it only takes a matter of minutes to churn, while any potential internet downtime should be no more than an hour.

Step 1: Match needs to provider

A little bit of research goes a long way. What you’re looking for from a new provider is important to address. If you’re after faster speeds on a comparable speed tier, check the typical evening download speeds of your provider-to-be.

If you’re curious about how your current or future-provider speeds compare to the averages, the ACCC has a quarterly updated webpage that’s dedicated to the average download and upload speeds for the biggest NBN providers. This page also takes into account average daily outages and latency, if either of these factors are part of your appraisal.

Step 2: Check for hidden costs

Whether it’s your current provider or your intended replacement provider, it’s worth taking a look at the fine print to see what additional costs may be involved in churning. For the provider you intend on leaving, you may be charged a fee for leaving a contract before its agreed term. Additionally, you may have to provide a certain amount of notice to switch providers, which means you may be charged for additional days or even an extra month if you don’t factor in the notice period.

To avoid this, we advise using any notice period as a guide of when you should cancel with your current provider, relative to how much you may be charged if you leave at the start, middle, or end of a billing month.

As for your new provider, check for any setup costs or potential hidden fees associated with the provision of new equipment, some of which may incur a cost if you don’t stick with the provider for a certain period of time, even on a no-contract plan (for instance, NBN providers that offer 4G backup modems).

NBN technology type churn differences

Your NBN technology type will determine whether you can avoid downtime between provider switches entirely. Fibre-to-the-Node, Fibre-to-the-Basement, Fibre-to-the-Curb, and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial means you follow these steps as normal.

For those homes with Fibre-to-the-Premises and Fixed Wireless NBN connections, though, you can potentially order a service with a new provider on one of your NBN connection box’s available data ports, then cancel with your old provider once you’re up and running. This may mean you can avoid downtime entirely between providers, but you should still check the fine print for any associated exit or sign-up fees to save money when churning.

What’s my NBN technology type?

If you’re unsure about which NBN technology type is used in your home, punch in your address on the NBN website and take note of the information under ‘Technology used in your connection’ on the bottom right of the results page.

Step 3: Sign up with your new provider

You shouldn’t be charged for your new service from the moment you sign up, but you will be charged once the service is active with your new provider (keep an eye out for a text or email saying as much). When signing up for a new NBN provider, factor in whether you need new networking equipment, such as a modem-router.

Migrate data

If you’ve been using your existing provider’s email service, you’ll want to migrate your emails and contact data to another service (e.g. Gmail or Outlook) before cancelling with them. Be sure to also let your new provider know if you’d like to keep your existing NBN landline number with your new service and them to port it over.

Step 4: Cancel with your current provider

Even if your new provider tells you your existing connection will be cancelled, contact your existing provider to verify this. Also ask your old provider to confirm when you can expect to receive your final bill, any additional costs you should expect to see on that bill, and whether you’re required to return any equipment within a particular timeframe so as not to incur a penalty.

NBN churn downtime

Service transfers between providers should take less than two business days to complete. If you’re lucky, it should be measured in hours rather than days. Internet downtime when churning is also usually less than 24 hours, but may also be as short as half an hour. You may need to power cycle your modem-router to complete the provider changeover.

Popular NBN provider cancellation terms

According to our scouring through critical information summaries, these popular NBN providers have the following cancellation terms for no-contract plans:

  • Telstra: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)
  • Optus: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)
  • TPG: 30 days’ notice; no fees
  • Aussie Broadband: no notice; no fees (30 days to return Fetch box or $135 fee)
  • iPrimus: no notice; no fees
  • Exetel: 30 days’ notice; no fees
  • iiNet: no notice; no fees
  • MyRepublic: 30 days’ notice; no fees
  • Vodafone: no notice; no fees (but you may have to pay out remaining modem-router cost)

Now that you know, here are your next steps.

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