Switching broadband providers
If you already have broadband, and want to switch providers, the process should be relatively simple in most circumstances. Firstly, remember that broadband access is provided using DSL technology through a BT line (most common form), a Cable network and another increasingly popular alternative, Mobile broadband, which uses a Mobile network.
If you are moving to, or from, Cable or Mobile broadband then you simply need to cancel the old service and sign-up with your new broadband provider. That's unless you wish to run both services simultaneously.
If you are however switching from one DSL package to another, for example from Orange to Sky broadband, who both use BT lines, then there are a few simple steps to follow and this is explained further down. The advice also assumes that you are now out of the contract period with your current provider. If you are not, please be aware that there may be charges if you want cancel whilst still within your contract period.
Switching between providers that both use a BT line (most common)
To do this you need to follow the MAC (Migration Authorisation Code) process. This involves obtaining a MAC from your current provider. The MAC is a special code that is used to switch your connection seamlessly from one provider to another. Carry out the following steps:
- Contact your current provider and ask them for a MAC. Do not ask for your service to be cancelled. Your MAC should be 17-18 digits long. For example: LXXX1234567/AB12C or BBIP12343872/AB23C.
- You should receive a MAC within five working days. Under Ofcom rules created in 2007, all ISPs are obliged to provide a MAC to you within five working days. If the provider refuses to offer a MAC, see our broadband complaints and issues page. The MAC is valid for 30 days from the date of issue.
- Inform your new (gaining) provider of the MAC. This can normally be done when you order your new broadband package. Many also accept it online when you place your order. Your provider should process the request and inform you of the transfer (switchover) date.
- Normally the MAC process is seamless and you should no be without Internet access for more than 30 minutes to 2 hours on the day of switchover.
On the rare occasion, the MAC process may not be possible when you sign-up. If you have any issues switching using the MAC process then speak to your new provider to get the best advice on how to switch to them.