Find out how to cancel your home broadband service and how much it will cost you if you cancel during your contract.
There are many reasons you might want to change your home broadband provider. For instance, you might be looking for faster download speeds elsewhere, you might be moving to another address or you might have found a better broadband deal from another provider.
In some cases, an early exit fee or early termination charge (ETC) will apply when you cancel your home broadband service in the UK. This will normally be the case if you had agreed to stay with your provider for a given amount of time (e.g. 12 months, 18 months or 24 months) and are now looking to cancel your service during the minimum commitment period.
In this article, we’ll explain the cancellation process for home broadband in the UK, how you can cancel your broadband service and how much you’ll need to pay when you cancel. We’ll also discuss a few alternatives to cancelling your broadband service such as improving your download speeds another way.
- 1 How To Cancel Your Broadband Service
- 2 Overview of Early Exit Fees
- 3 Early Cancellation Charge: By Internet Service Provider
- 4 Alternatives to Cancelling Early
- 5 More Information
How To Cancel Your Broadband Service
The way you cancel your home broadband service differs depending on whether you’re moving to another provider or whether you’re cancelling for another reason such as moving to another address:
- If you’re switching between two broadband providers that use the Openreach network, there’s no need to get in touch with your old provider. Simply order your broadband package from the new provider and they’ll arrange the cancellation of your old service for you. Both your old and new internet service providers (ISPs) will send you a letter in the post to confirm the switchover of your service.
- If you’re switching between broadband providers that use different physical networks, you’ll need to get in touch with your old provider to cancel your service. This won’t happen automatically.
- If you’re moving home or cancelling your service for any other reason, you’ll need to get in touch with your internet provider to cancel your broadband service.
Providers using the Openreach network include BT, EE, John Lewis, NOW Broadband, Plusnet, Shell Energy, Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone. If you’re changing between these providers, it isn’t necessary to contact your old broadband provider first.
Providers using a different physical network include Virgin Media (which uses a cable-based network) and ‘altnet’ full fibre broadband providers such as Hyperoptic and Community Fibre. You’ll need to contact your old provider if you’re moving between any of these networks or an Openreach-powered service.
If you’re inside the minimum term of your contract, an early exit fee may apply to your cancellation. Outside of the minimum term, there won’t be an early exit fee but there could be a 30-day notice period.
The following in-depth guides can take you through the process of how you cancel your home broadband service:
- How to cancel your BT Broadband service
- How to cancel your EE Broadband service
- How to cancel your Hyperoptic service
- How to cancel your Now Broadband service
- How to cancel your Plusnet Broadband service
- How to cancel your Sky service
- How to cancel your TalkTalk service
- How to cancel your Virgin Media service
Overview of Early Exit Fees
The following table shows a list of broadband providers in the UK and how much you’ll currently need to pay as an early exit fee if your cancel your service during the minimum initial term:
|Internet Service Provider
|Early Exit Fee
|82.5% of remaining monthly charges
|Plan dependent (25-35% of remaining monthly charges)
|Up to £20 for broadband-only, £25 for broadband and phone
|Plan dependent (£10.32 to £11.81 per remaining month)
|Plan dependent (£9.63 to £12.15 per remaining month)
|Post Office Broadband
|Plan dependent (£6.19 to £20.37 per remaining month)
|Shell Energy Broadband
|£15 cease charge, plus £6.50 to £18.50 per remaining month
|Plan dependent (£12.41 to £24.23 per remaining month)
|Plan dependent (£8.50 to £10.50 per remaining month)
|Plan dependent (£30.54 to £50.46 per remaining month)
|Up to 83.3% of remaining monthly charges
If you’re outside the minimum term of your contract, you won’t need to pay an early termination fee. However, you may still be charged for the 30 days notice that you give to end your contract.
In some cases, you might be able to cancel your broadband service without penalty. This is possible if you cancel your service within the initial 14-day cooling off period. It might also be possible if your broadband speed drops below a guaranteed minimum speed, or if your broadband provider raises your price by more than the amount stated when you signed up for the service.
Early Cancellation Charge: By Internet Service Provider
Most of BT’s services including BT Broadband, BT Sport and BT TV have an initial contract length of either 12 months, 18 months or 24 months. If you’d like to cancel your service during this minimum term, you’ll need to pay an early termination charge (ETC) to cover the remaining months on your contract.
BT’s early termination charge is the total of the remaining monthly charges on your BT plan, less VAT and then a 1% discount. This works out as being 82.5% of your remaining monthly charges. The following example calculations are given in BT’s price guide:
If you cancel your service outside the minimum initial term, only a 30-day Notice Period Charge will apply to your cancellation.
If you have a BT Mobile SIM card attached to your BT account, different cancellation fees will apply for BT Mobile. For more information, see our guide on how to cancel a BT Mobile contract. Alternatively, you can continue using your BT Mobile SIM cards after cancelling your other services but you’ll lose the £5/month discount for BT Broadband customers.
You can cancel your BT service by calling them on 0800 783 1401.
If you’re cancelling your EE home broadband service during the minimum contracted term, an early cancellation fee will apply.
You’ll need to contact EE to get a quote for your early cancellation charge, but it’s typically around 25-35% of the remaining charges for your minimum term. This is because EE makes a reduction for VAT and any costs they save as a result of your cancellation (e.g. wholesale costs). They’ll then remove a further 4% as an early receipt discount:
The following example calculations are given in EE’s home broadband price guide:
If you have the old EE TV service, you’ll need to return your EE TV box within 30 days of cancelling your service (otherwise, a fee of £175 will be charged on your final bill).
If your EE mobile phone is in receipt of a mobile data boost, you’ll lose this when you cancel your EE home broadband service.
You can cancel your EE home broadband service by giving them a call on 0800 079 0544.
Source: EE Help article: How do I cancel my broadband, landline or TV plan?
If you cancel your Hyperoptic service during the minimum commitment period (normally the first 12 months), you’ll need to pay a £20 service termination fee for a broadband-only service and a £25 service termination fee for the broadband and phone service.
Alternatively, if the remaining charges for your minimum commitment period are less than this, you’ll only be charged the remaining amount as your service termination fee.
The early termination charge is based on the plan you’re on and the number of months remaining on your Now Broadband contract:
This is pro-rated based on the number of days remaining on your contract with the final early termination charge rounded up to the nearest 25p. To give an example, a customer with three months remaining on Brilliant Broadband would be charged £31 (£10.32 x 3 months = £30.96, which is then rounded up to give £31).
On Plusnet, the charge for ending your broadband or TV contract early will depend on when you started your contract.
For customers who signed up to Plusnet before the 10th December 2019, the early termination charge will be as follows:
Customers who signed up to Plusnet after the 9th December 2019 will need to obtain a personalised quote for their cancellation cost from Plusnet. The cancellation cost will be based on your remaining monthly payments, less VAT, any costs saved by Plusnet (e.g. wholesale) and 1% for early receipt of your payment. We expect this is likely to come out at around 30-40% of your remaining monthly costs.
Post Office Broadband
If you cancel your Post Office broadband or home phone service during the minimum initial term, you’ll incur an early termination charge based on the number of months remaining on your contract:
This charge is detailed within the Post Office broadband & home phone price guide.
Shell Energy Broadband
If you’re a customer of Shell Energy Broadband, you’ll need to pay a £15 cease charge and an early termination charge for ending your broadband contract early:
You’ll also need to return your router within 30 days of cancelling the service, or a fee of £35 will be charged on your final bill.
If you’d like to cancel your Sky Broadband or Sky TV contract before the end of the minimum term (usually 12 months or 18 months long), you’ll need to pay an early termination charge for this.
The following table shows the early termination charge for Sky Broadband contracts that include line rental within the price:
Any discounts you have on your plan will be taken into account when calculating the early termination charge. The final amount will then be rounded up to the nearest 25p. The following worked example is given on Sky’s website:
If you’re also cancelling your Sky TV contract, the early termination charge will be calculated as follows:
On TalkTalk, it’s possible to cancel your broadband service during the minimum term of your contract by paying an early termination charge. This is based on the number of months remaining on your contract:
To cancel your service, you can call TalkTalk Customer Services on 0345 172 0046.
If you’re a Virgin Media customer, you can cancel your contract subject to an initial 30-day notice period where you’ll pay full fees, followed by an early disconnection fee to take you to the end of your contract period. The early disconnection fee is as follows:
If you have other Virgin Media services such as home phone and TV, your early disconnection fees will be higher and will be listed on this page.
The Early Disconnection Fee is capped at a maximum of £240 across all of your Virgin Media services. You’ll need to return all of the kit provided to you by Virgin including your Virgin TV V6 box and your Hub 3 or Hub 4 home broadband router.
To cancel your Virgin Media services, you can contact Virgin Media on 0345 454 1111 or through a page on their website.
If you have a Virgin Mobile handset or SIM card, see our guide on how to cancel your Virgin Mobile service.
Source: Virgin Media Terms & Conditions: Early Disconnection Fees
If you’re a Vodafone home broadband customer, you can cancel your contract during the minimum contract period by paying an early termination fee. This is typically 83.3% of all of the remaining payments on your contract (Vodafone offers a discount as they don’t charge VAT on the early termination fee).
The following worked examples are given in the Vodafone home phone and broadband price guide:
If you’re moving home to an address where Vodafone Broadband isn’t available, the early termination fee will be waived by Vodafone.
If you’re cancelling your Vodafone mobile contract, see our guide on how to cancel your Vodafone mobile contract instead.
Alternatives to Cancelling Early
In general, it’s normally best to try and avoid cancelling your broadband contract early as you’ll need to pay an early exit fee for a broadband service that you aren’t able to use.
In the following section, we’ll discuss a couple of alternatives to cancelling your home broadband service early, depending on the situation you’re in.
Improving Download Speeds
If you’re suffering from poor download speeds, it’s worth checking a couple of things before you can change your internet provider.
Firstly, it’s important to see if the poor download speeds are actually being caused by your internet connection or by your wi-fi connection.
The best way to check is by plugging a wired device into your home broadband router using an Ethernet cable. If the poor download speeds are happening only when you’re connected to wi-fi, consider getting a wi-fi repeater or a mesh wi-fi networking solution (e.g. BT Whole Home Wi-Fi or Google Wi-Fi). Your broadband provider may also offer a service that improves your home wi-fi connection (e.g. BT Complete Wi-Fi, Sky Broadband Boost or EE Smart Wi-Fi).
If the issue with poor download speeds is indeed from your broadband connection, your provider may offer you penalty-free cancellation if it doesn’t meet the minimum guaranteed download speed. In this case, you could consider moving to another provider but you may experience the exact same problem elsewhere if it’s still being delivered through the same Openreach phone line connection. If so, you should consider changing to a broadband provider that uses a different physical network such as Virgin Media (which uses a cable connection) or Three Broadband (which uses a 4G or 5G connection).
If you’re moving to another address, it might be possible to transfer your home broadband service to it. When you do this, you’ll be able to continue your current contract without paying any early exit fees (though some ISPs may require you to commit for another minimum term when you request a home move).
In many cases, the broadband service available at your new address will be different to what you’re able to get at your current address. For instance, you might be moving to a home where you’re unable to get a service from your current broadband provider. In this case, you’ll need to check with your ISP to see what their policies are. For instance, Virgin Media will require you to pay the early disconnection fee in full. Meanwhile, Vodafone will waive their early termination charge when you move to an address where it isn’t possible to get Vodafone Broadband.
Found A Better Deal
If you’ve found a better broadband deal elsewhere, you’ll need to decide whether you’re still better off after paying the early exit fee from your old provider.
To minimise any early exit fees you might need to pay, check to see if your new provider will allow you to delay the start date. Alternatively, they might agree to credit you for some of the early exit fees. For instance, EE offers a £50 early cancellation credit for customers who receive an early termination charge from their old provider.
For more information on how to cancel your home broadband service, refer to your internet service provider’s website as linked to above.
You can also read our in-depth guides to home broadband in the UK, including our detailed reviews of all the major home broadband providers.