Moving home and broadband

Moving home and broadband

Of all the utilities you need to consider when moving home and broadband can be the most problematic.

When moving home and broadband, failing to follow the correct steps can lead to delays for both you and the new occupier of your old property and there may be unexpected costs.

Nobody needs that additional stress when moving, so here’s how you can sort out your broadband with the minimum of hassle.

First steps – call your ISP and check broadband availability

As soon as you know you’ll be moving call your provider and ask how much warning they need to either move or cancel your service.

Notifying them too late can have several consequences. If moving the provider to a new property there could be a delay in getting it up and running, leaving you waiting weeks for the broadband to be activated.

If cancelling, you’ll end up paying for the remaining service period even if you’re not using it anymore.

The line can also be blocked for the new occupier until your service has ended, and the same can happen to you if the previous owners/tenants did not cancel their line correctly. In this situation the activation will be held up for a week or two as the ISP waits for the line to be unblocked.

You’ll also need to check service availability at the new property. Broadband coverage is variable across the country, and even within the same town you might find that the broadband is slower (or faster) at the new address. You can ask your current provider to check, or do it yourself using the broadband tools at

Note that a landline telephone number is needed for the most accurate results. Without this you’ll only be able to see what services are possible at the nearest exchange, but this does not necessarily mean they will be available at a specific property.

Your next steps will depend on whether you’re cancelling and switching providers, or moving your current ISP to the new property.

Cancelling and switching

When cancelling an ISP, ask them for a breakdown of any final costs. As well as the last bill for service up to the point of cancellation some providers charge a cancellation fee which applies even outside the contract term.

Note that moving home is not grounds for cancelling a contract early, even if the provider is unable to supply the same service at the new address, so if you’re still within the contract period there will be a charge for the remaining months.

Once you’ve cleared things up with the current ISP, it’s time to speak to the new provider. Again, do this early. It typically takes a couple of weeks to order and activate a new broadband connection and waiting until the last minute will mean you’ll be without broadband for a while after the move. If done in good time though you should be able to arrange for activation on the move in date.

If an engineer is required they’ll book this in. For services using the BT network (so any ADSL or fibre home broadband) the ISP will instruct Openreach to carry out the work, while Virgin Media will send out their own engineers.

Ask for confirmation of the total setup costs and take this into account for your first bill. If you’re shopping around for a new ISP it’s worth looking out for deals with free setup or activation to save some money.

Moving your broadband

Moving your current ISP to a new address should generally be straightforward, but the procedure varies depending on whether you get phone and broadband from the same provider or different companies.

If your phone and broadband are with separate providers you must first contact the telephone company and request a line move. They should provide a Linked Order Reference Number (LORN), which is sometimes called a Simultaneous Provide Number.

This reference must be passed to the ISP so the broadband can be activated on the same day as the phone line. Without this the phone line may be live but broadband could be delayed several weeks.

If the phone and broadband are with the same provider it’s a lot simpler. So long as they are notified in good time the ISP will be able to handle most of the process and get your old line cancelled and the new service activated at the same time.

The ISP will always try to supply exactly the same service as before unless otherwise requested, but in cases where that is not possible you will be given the next best connection. This is most likely to occur with fibre optic or cable broadband, which have a more limited coverage than ADSL. As mentioned above you cannot cancel a contract without charge because of this, but if fast broadband is absolutely vital it might better to explore alternatives and accept the cost of switching rather than continue with a substandard service.

Matt Powell
Editor Broadband Genie

This content was written by Quick Move Now
Published on 13th November 2015
Last updated on 9th August 2018


Property Ombudsman Logo National Association Property Buyers Logo Chartered Trading Standards Institute Logo British Property Federation Logo


Quick Move Now
Interface Business Park,
Floor One, Unit 15,
Royal Wootton Bassett,

Get your cash offer now

9 Days
15 Hours
59 Minutes

You're currently offline