Switching your internet service provider (ISP) can be a headache, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re paying too much or not receiving the bandwidth you need, a bit of research and planning—and choosing the right provider—goes a long way in alleviating the frustrations of making the switch.

Follow our step-by-step guide of what to do before you cancel your current plan and how to seamlessly switch to a new internet provider.

1. Read & Understand Your Current Contract 

Before you do anything, read the fine print of your current contract if you signed one. Some contracts include cancellation fees or early termination fees. Depending on the terms of your contract, early termination fees can vary from $15 to $500. Also, consider if you need to return your modem and router when you cancel. Failure to do so or returning it late can result in additional charges.

2. Determine Your ISP Needs

There may be more than one reason you want to switch providers, whether it’s speed, connection type or cost. 

Internet Speed

If your current speeds aren’t fast enough for your digital life, a new plan with faster speeds may resolve buffering or lagging. Your current upload and download speeds are great reference points when looking for a new plan—you can use an internet speed test to find your current speeds and determine how much more (or less) bandwidth your home needs. 

Depending on your online activities, you may not need the fastest plan available. Consider how many people in your household use the internet, how many devices are connected, and how you use the internet. With a high-demand internet lifestyle, you’ll likely need more bandwidth to support all of your online activities, such as multiplayer gaming, streaming TV, video calling or working from home.

Connection Type

There are four main types of internet connections to choose from. The right connection type for you will depend on availability in your area, costs and current promotions, and your home’s typical internet activities.

  • Fiber: the fastest and most reliable type of connection that works by sending light signals through glass tubes rather than electrical signals over copper wire
  • Cable: offers faster speeds than DSL and satellite, but not as fast as fiber
  • DSL: uses phone lines and is widely available, but it isn’t very fast
  • Satellite: the most widely available option, but the slowest

3. Set Your Budget

Cost is one of the most important factors when looking for a new internet provider. Bundling internet services with other services, such as TV, can sometimes reduce your overall costs. Some providers offer free installation or reduced monthly rates for the first year when you sign up to ensure you can stay on budget. Signing a long-term contract may reduce your monthly rate, but it may also have strict cancellation policies. Carefully review all contracts and pricing information to see if or when the monthly rate may change.

4. Find Your New Provider

Once you’ve determined your needs, you can research providers available in your area. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Do they offer unlimited data, or is there a data cap?
  • Do they have a 24/7 customer service line?
  • What are the upload and download speeds?
  • Is there an activation fee?
  • Are there any bundle packages for phone or TV?
  • What are the installation and equipment costs?
  • What plans do they offer? Do they have a plan finder tool?
  • What types of connection do they offer? How reliable are they?
  • What do current customers think of the service?

5. Schedule the Switch

Before you call your current provider to cancel, set up an installation date with your new provider. Once a date is set, then you can cancel your current plan. You may want to wait until after the installation date to cancel just in case something unforeseen happens during installation so you’re not without internet access.

6. Contact Your Current ISP

After you have scheduled your installation with your new ISP, call your current provider and inform them you need to cancel your plan. They may offer reduced prices or other incentives to entice you to stay. Once you have confirmed you’re canceling your plan, they will explain any cancellation fees and procedures and how to return your old equipment.

7. Return Your Old Equipment

To avoid extra fees, return your equipment to your old internet provider before the due date. If you have to mail your old equipment back, ship it well before the deadline. Some providers have physical locations that make it easy to make your return without getting fined.

8. Prepare for Installation & Setup

On the day of installation, make sure you’re home when the technician arrives. Create a clear pathway to your access point where service will enter your home, and make sure there is access to a grounded outlet to plug in your new equipment. Let your technician know where you want your router and inform them of any potential internet dead zones in your house. Before installation day, your new ISP should send you a guide on what to expect.

Lumos Can Make Your ISP Switch Hassle-Free

Make the switch to Lumos and enjoy a seamless fiber internet setup. To make the internet accessible to everyone, Lumos offers fast fiber internet for as little as $40 per month. Plus, there are no contracts, so you’re never surprised with hidden fees. The plan finder tool makes it easy to find the right internet speeds for your needs. 

Experience the next generation of internet with fiber. Check for Lumos Fiber near you and start your journey to unlimited connectivity.