How to Switch Internet Providers

Tyler Abbott
Staff Writer, Mobile & Wireless
Read More
February 08, 2022
3 min read

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Whether it’s because you’re paying too much for internet you barely use or you’re sick and tired of watching the buffering wheel go ‘round and ‘round, switching your internet provider isn’t as hard as it sounds. Follow this step-by-step guide to switch your internet service provider.

1. Determine what internet you want

What made you Google “how to change my internet provider” today? Are you looking for faster upload speeds? Do you want to pay less on your monthly bill? Do you want an internet option without annual contracts?

Do some soul-searching and decide what matters most to you with an internet service provider.

Which of my devices use the internet?
Info Box

List all the devices you have that use the internet to get a better idea of what you want. Here’s something to get you started:

  • Smart TV
  • Game system and game consoles
  • Laptop/desktop computer
  • Smartphone
  • Tablets
  • Smart security devices

Each of those activities takes uses up internet speed. Think of it like feeding a family with a big pizza. The more internet speed you have, the more slices of pizza each person gets to eat. Likewise, the more devices you have, the more internet broadband you’ll need to feed those devices.

Now that you have an idea of the devices you use, check out this FAQ that will help you figure out how much speed you need.

2. Find out about early termination fees

You have to sign a contract with most internet service providers, which means canceling can get tricky.

Ideally, your contract ends soon and you can choose a new internet service provider with no strings attached. If you’re still far from the end of your contract, you’ll likely incur some extra fees if you cancel.

This table will give you an idea of what contract and cancellation fees look like for some major internet service providers.

Internet provider cancellation fee comparison
Internet provider
Contract length
No-contract options?
Early termination fee

AT&T

1 year

Yes

$180

Frontier

2 year

Yes

Up to $400*

Xfinity

1 year

Yes

Up to $230*

HughesNet Internet

2 year

No

Up to $400*

Prorated by number of months completed.
*Varies by service and agreement.

Dig through your email or wherever you keep important documents and see how your contract is laid out. Considering how expensive early termination fees can be, it may be wise to wait out your contract and sign up for a new ISP (Internet Service Provider) when you can.

Consider a no-contract option
Light Bulb

Some ISPs, like AT&T and Xfinity, offer month-to-month internet contract options. It’ll likely cost you a couple of extra bucks a month, but you won’t have to worry about early termination fees in the future.

3. Find which internet service providers are available in your area.

The type of broadband internet, and the provider you get it from, completely depends on where you live. Enter your ZIP code below and find out what internet service providers are available in your neighborhood.

Find the best Internet Providers in your area.

4. Pick a provider.

Now that you have a list of service providers in front of you to choose from, it’s time to get decisive. Choose the internet service provider that makes the most sense for your situation.

Need an internet plan with a little more firepower?
Bullhorn

Almost every device relies on an internet connection these days, and you don’t want to wait on a slow broadband connection.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a provider:

  • Upload speed and download speeds—More internet speed means your devices will work that much faster. You’ll get better streaming, quicker search results, and more seamless gaming.
  • Data caps—You know you’ve reached a data cap when your broadband slows down and stays slowed down. Sometimes this is called a “brown-out.” Make sure your data cap seems reasonable for your needs.
  • Monthly cost—More internet speed also generally means more expensive. Find out how much internet you need and find the best price for upload and download speeds.
  • Up-front costs—Make sure to read the fine print in the contract with your new service provider. Some providers charge expensive up-front costs, and some providers set you up for free.
  • Bundling options—If you’re also thinking of changing your TV and phone service providers, try bundling everything together with your internet. You can often save some money by getting those services from the same provider.

5. Call your current internet service provider.

This is your current internet service provider’s last chance to woo you and convince you to stay. You might be surprised how far a company will go for customer satisfaction. Explain that you’re considering switching service providers and give them a chance to sweeten your current deal which might convince you to stay.

What should I say to my current internet service provider?
Bullhorn

Here’s a line to get you started: “Hi, I am calling to discuss my internet options. I’m considering moving to a different provider.”

If they just give you the cold shoulder and don’t convince you to stay, well, then you can move forward with no regrets. You'll then get to pick a different internet service provider that offers a better deal.

6. Commit to a new internet service provider

Now you’ve figured out how to switch internet providers, it’s time to call customer service and make it official.

Do I need to cancel my old internet before switching?
Heads Up

We recommend setting up your new internet service first and then canceling your old service—especially if you rely on your home internet for work. 

Setting up your new internet before you cancel your old service guarantees you won't go without service during the switch. Do you really want to be without Netflix? We didn't think so.

7. Cancel your old internet service

Now that you’ve moved on, you need to cancel your old internet service as soon as possible. Make sure you don’t call customer service before you’ve already found a new service provider. You don’t want to be between internet service providers, so try to schedule your cancellation a little after your new service begins.

Does any router work with any provider?

No, routers have to be compatible with the internet connection type that is offered by your internet service provider. Your new internet provider will provide you with a Wi-Fi router or hub that is compatible with their connection type. 

Now that you know, here are your next steps.
See what providers are available in your area.

Still looking? Check out the top ranked internet providers.

Tyler Abbott
Written by
Tyler Abbott
Tyler has been obsessed with watching sports as efficiently as possible since the creation of the DVR. He is always on the lookout for the best tech in TV and wireless so he can watch all the sports and still have enough time to hang out with his baby. He has written about streaming, wireless, and TV for over three years. He hopes the Lakers will eventually get better.

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