Before you change broadband provider
Once a fixed-term contract ends with a broadband provider, the monthly cost may increase. Be aware of the date your contract ends, so you can arrange a new one in time and avoid surprise charges.
Check the terms relating to early termination carefully if you feel you need to switch before your contract expires. You could be charged an exit fee for breaking your agreement.
If you’ve been tied into a contract for years, you may be missing out on improvements in connection quality and service. While your old provider may offer steep price cuts to keep you, consider what you could get elsewhere before choosing purely on price.
Identify what you want from a broadband provider
Aside from price or availability, you need to know what you’re looking for from your internet provider before choosing.
Consider opting out from ‘value-added’ extras if you don’t need them. For example, service bundles that include video-on-demand packages or a landline may be unnecessary for you. If that’s the case, avoid these types of deals to reduce your costs.
While often framed as a way to cut costs, data usage caps can be an obstacle to interruption-free online gaming and streaming. Considering data is consumed rapidly when downloading game data or staying connected to a gaming server, packages offering unrestricted data probably make more sense over the long term for a committed user.
With some providers, the rate for consuming data over your allocated limit will be expensive. Others may throttle bandwidth, resulting in high ping and a slow connection.
Speed vs stability
While many ISPs make promises of fast download speeds a key part of their marketing, it isn’t necessarily the most important factor to optimise when gaming online.
More important than speed itself is connection stability. An unstable connection, with excessive jitter and latency, can seriously degrade an online gaming experience. The result will be unpredictable download times, in-game lag, stuttering voice chat, and an increased chance of being automatically kicked from a server.
Online gamers, especially those who broadcast streams, will also need to consider the availability of upstream bandwidth. Many fibre providers who focus on advertising high download speeds on contended connections, will offer upstream speeds at a fraction of the downlink’s maximum. It’s also likely latency levels will be too high for intensive use. Guaranteeing a stable uplink is as important to a gamer as ensuring connection consistency while downloading.
Sensible network management
Providers who choose to focus on optimising ping rates and minimising latency, as opposed to headline-grabbing download speeds, are likely to better understand the requirements for a smooth online gaming experience.
It will also be a sign that they won’t treat ‘gaming’ as an afterthought. This can come with distinct advantages: connections are less likely to be throttled indiscriminately, and connection speeds will be more uniform throughout the course of a day.
Finding a broadband provider that offers gamer-grade connectivity
You can use price comparison sites to discover broadband ISPs and services available in your area. However, bear in mind that some companies may not be listed. This could be for several reasons, e.g. the list compilers may have only wanted to focus on the most well-known brands, or lacked access to up-to-date information.
Even when you’ve narrowed down the options, it’s a good idea to look at independent customer reviews on a site like Trustpilot. Reviews may reveal omissions in the marketing used to promote an ISP or problems they would rather not be known.
Making the switch to a new broadband provider
In most cases, if you are switching between providers that utilise the Openreach network, you won’t need to inform your old provider that you are leaving. The exception is if you are moving away from an ISP which operates its own network, e.g. Virgin Media. If that’s the case, you’ll need to tell them that you are cancelling.
Once the transfer request is acknowledged, your old ISP should send you a final document confirming the cancellation, details of any outstanding costs, and the date your service will end.
Your new ISP should also confirm in writing when your service will begin with them.
Make a note of when your new contract expires, to avoid being caught out by a potential end-of-term price hike.
Remember that you can cancel for any reason within 14 days of ordering your new connection, without incurring any charges.
At Ghost, our broadband service is optimised for online gaming. We never throttle connections, meaning, your gaming experience will not suffer from slowdown – even at busy times.
Our custom-built network is designed to maintain multiple direct connections to the internet. Even if one of the circuits fails, you stay connected without any interruption.
In addition, direct links to online gaming services, including Twitch, Steam and Xbox, keep in-game latency low and reduce wait times in lobbies.
If you would like to know more about the network that is delivering unparalleled connectivity for pro-gaming, take a look at what our engineers have said about our infrastructure.
When you’re ready to experience the difference yourself, getting started couldn’t be easier. Our online ordering wizard will guide you through the process quickly and with minimal fuss.