Switching Broadband is a piece of cake!

bt-hub-5

It has never been easier to switch broadband providers. Used to be if you wanted to move you would need a MAC (migration authorisation code), provision of service with your old provider would cease and within ten working days you would be online with your new provider. The trouble is, these days, could you be without a service for what could potentially be two weeks? Luckily, now, your new supplier does all the hard work for you.

Under a ‘gaining provider led process’, your new provider will arrange the transfer.

You only need to contact the provider you wish to switch to, who will notify your old provider of the intended transfer – you do not need to cancel your contract with your old provider.

If you change your mind, you must contact your new provider to cancel your request to switch and they are obliged to cancel the agreement without you incurring any charges.

So which provider should you choose….? That, of course,  is entirely up to you! All I can do is is relate my own experience. I was with EE, however decided to switch back to BT after five years due to a recent offer –  to be honest, there is always some form of offer to switch back to BT. People’s reaction to BT vary in the extreme, but I initiated the transfer online….. it was easy and straightforward and for six months my contract will be £10 a month cheaper with the bonus of BT Sport… which if you have a lad who is football mad like mine, is  a real bonus. It’s only a 12 month contract, so if I am not happy then switching to another provider would be just a straightforward, however I have a feeling having BT Sport will be a good incentive to stay put, and you never know, there may be some deals available from the customer retention team.

Parental Controls

Another consideration these days is just how easy it is to access all sorts of content on the Internet. Most companies will enable some form of access to parental control however the advantage of the BT system is it is done at server level, so instead of blocking content on individual devices – being a techie household, I have no shortage of those – you log in and configure what content is allowed through a web based interface and content is screened prior to ‘hitting’ the house. That is a real bonus! There is only one issue I have found. BT Parental controls only allow you to use BT’s own DNS servers, otherwise the connection will be blocked. This is to prevent users bypassing parental controls, by using different DNS server access.

If you use a VOIP service – I use Vonage – the adaptor may use an alternate DNS service. In my case, when BT parental controls are active, BT block  the use of the Vonage DNS server. Hmm, luckily the Vonage service is very versatile, so you can set an alternate number to ring…. In my case my BT landline number, and because I have the Vonage app on my smartphone, I can receive incoming calls through that also. So, when my lad is with me, Parental Controls are in place, but I can still get my ‘business calls’ and when he isn’t parental controls are disabled, and things work as they did before when I had my EE broadband service.

One small thing to be aware of is, if you’re turning off permanently and deleting BT Parental Controls completely, the changes can take up to 2 hours. But to be honest, it’s a minor inconvenience.

The Router

As ever, the switch of providers results in the supply of a new broadband router or hub. To access the BT TV services, it appears you have to use the BT YouView Box with the new BT hub provided – in my case the Home Hub 5. The YouView box, unfortunately is not wireless and my router is on a different floor to the living room…..I’m in a three storey town house. Up to now, we’ve be using the Xbox and an Apple TV box (sync’d with an iPad) wirelessly for any on-demand content. Hmm problem, no access to BT on-demand content or to enable BT TV services . Solution, the package comes with a very long and very thin Ethernet cable. I therefore ran it from the new hub up to the living room and connected it to the YouView box. All worked really well. It only took ‘overnight’ for the software update to initiate and for the BT TV services to appear.

So, with a reasonably neat wiring job, and a now redundant EE Gigabit modem / router, the thought crossed my mind, why not make use of the old device… fair play to EE, the equipment was excellent and I would say provided a better wireless signal than the BT Hub. One configuration change later….. disabling the DCHP allocation on the old router and fixing the IP address to an alternate one to the main hub,

Quick explanation, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is a system where, when a device logs into a network either wired or wirelessly, the hub will allocate it an address. You do not want two devices allocating addresses, otherwise you may get IP address conflict and one or possibly both not being able to access the Internet

I plugged the Ethernet cable into the EE router which was now positioned out of the way behind the TV, with the YouView box connected to the old router via a small Cat6 cable. You may think overkill, however a wired connection is always a better option than a wireless connection, and now, not only do I have a wireless access point on the ground floor, but I now have one on the first floor, giving the whole house 100% wireless signal and download speeds faster than before. Win-win!

In conclusion, is it worthwhile changing providers? In my case, having had the new service for two weeks and with the new set up, I would say yes. I have more functionality, additional services and my monthly costs are cheaper – for six months anyway. There were charges to set up the new BT services, however, a gift card / cash back offer more than made up for those and was received this week. Fair to say…well done BT!

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