Now that restrictions have been lifted in the UK, what it's like switching your broadband?
The social and legal regulations surrounding COVID-19 have been lifted here in the UK meaning that workplaces, schools, pubs, gyms and restaurants are mostly back to operating as normal.
If you’re thinking about switching to a new broadband provider you may be wondering what effect this removal of restrictions has had on the process. During lockdown, it did change quite a bit with certain packages not available and engineer visits being suspended for example.
This guide will take you through how some of the UK’s major broadband providers are currently handling switching so you can go ahead and get started.
A number of providers use the BT Openreach network, such as EE, John Lewis, Now Broadband, Plusnet, Sky, Shell Energy, The Post Office, SSE, TalkTalk, Vodafone and of course BT themselves.
As they all operate on the same network line, an engineer is not required to come out to your home if you’d like to switch from one to the other. A home wi-fi router from your new provider will be sent out to you which you can then connect up.
Therefore, if you’re switching within the Openreach network - your broadband switch will go ahead as normal.
Now that restrictions in the UK have been lifted, Openreach engineers can enter your home to carry out any work or repairs that are needed. They’ll still adhere to social distancing measures whilst inside your home and will contact you shortly before their visit to ensure nobody is ill with COVID-19 or having to self-isolate.
They were suspended for a time during lockdown but top-tier ultrafast packages can now be purchased from providers like Sky, BT and TalkTalk. These packages will still generally have limited availability but that’s down to their gradual rollout rather than anything related to COVID-19.
BT is delivering equipment such as Smart Hubs and TV boxes as usual.
Installations requiring an engineer are going ahead if needed for all customers, including those who are vulnerable and those stuck without any broadband.
As previously mentioned, ultrafast broadband (fibre-to-the-premises) is available too.
Have BT made any changes to their service as a result of COVID-19?
Orders for Sky broadband and Sky TV are carrying on as normal which goes for both new customers and those seeking to upgrade their package.
Engineers will come out to your home if it’s necessary but otherwise you’ll be sent your new Sky Hub wireless router in the post so you can set it up yourself.
Has Sky made any changes to their service as a result of COVID-19?
Customers switching to TalkTalk will receive a starter kit in the post containing a router so you'll have service upon plugging it in and turning it on.
If installation is required, as may be the case for a few customers, engineers can now enter your home. They’ll always abide by Openreach regulations when inside which includes wearing a mask and wiping down any surfaces they’ve touched after finishing.
Has TalkTalk made any changes to their service as a result of COVID-19?
Plusnet is accepting new broadband customers and providing you’ve got an active phone line, there shouldn’t be any delays in getting you up and running.
Has Plusnet made any changes to their service as a result of COVID-19?
Now that engineer visits are possible, EE is welcoming customers from all providers and not just those who fall under the Openreach umbrella.
EE’s lightning-fast Fibre Max plans, with average download speeds of 145Mbps, 300Mbps and 900Mbps respectively, are now again available for purchase.
Has EE made any changes to their service as a result of COVID-19?
It’s a similar story for all Openreach network providers. As long as you are coming from or going to an Openreach provider, you’re all good to switch.
Virgin Media is different to all the other suppliers listed above. Why? Because they’re not part of the Openreach network as many other providers are. You’re still able to switch between them however, it just means that an engineer is required to get you up and running.
During the lockdown, Virgin Media began issuing Quick Start self installation packs so switches could still go ahead in the absence of engineer visits. These packs are still available, but only to those customers who’ve previously had the Virgin Media service, to order if you’d like.
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