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1 Million UK Home Movers Go Without Broadband for 8 Days UPDATE

Thursday, Jun 3rd, 2021 (12:01 am) - Score 2,424
house prices and broadband speed

A new Opinium survey from Uswitch, which was conducted with 2,003 people who moved house in the last 5 years (surveyed between 11th to 17th May 2021), has estimated that more than 1 million Britons who moved in the last year waited 8 days on average for their broadband ISP to be connected.

The COVID-19 situation, which has forced many more people to work from home than before the pandemic, has naturally placed a much greater level of importance on home broadband connectivity. Moving home is one area in particular where this can become problematic, since it often takes time to get a new broadband (and or phone) service setup or migrated.

The survey found that nearly all the major home broadband ISPs left their customers waiting at least a week to be connected. Plusnet took the longest time, at almost 10 days, while Virgin Media customers had to wait the shortest length of time at just under 7 days.

However, there’s also a big difference in the time taken to connect broadband across the country. For example, people waited just over 5 days in Edinburgh, but some places took almost three times as long, with residents of Bristol having to endure almost 15 days without the internet.

Average number of days for ISPs to connect broadband

Provider Average days without connection
Plusnet 9.9
TalkTalk 9.4
BT 8.6
EE 8.1
Sky Broadband 7.7
Vodafone 7.3
Virgin Media 6.6

Average days to be connected by nearest city

Location Average days to be connected
Bristol 15
Belfast 13
Glasgow 10
Sheffield 9
Nottingham 9
London 9
Manchester 9
Cardiff 8
Birmingham 7
Norwich 7
Plymouth 7
Liverpool 7
Leeds 7
Newcastle 7
Southampton 6
Brighton 5
Edinburgh 5

Such delays were found to have a big impact on people. For example, 29% of home movers exhausted their mobile data allowance as they tethered their computer to their phone, while 11% had to take annual leave as they couldn’t do their work without broadband (in fairness, you often need to take leave during house moves anyway) and 10% were even reprimanded by their employer.

Summary of Additional Survey Findings

➤ Movers had to call their broadband ISP twice on average to set up their connection, but one in ten needed to make five or more calls. Meanwhile, 26% felt the process had sped up after speaking to their provider, while 21% received a refund for the time they spent without broadband.

➤ 20% were given a dongle (4G USB / WiFi modem) by their ISP to access mobile broadband during the delay. Plusnet and Vodafone said they offer dongles or MiFi hubs to customers left without a connection, while BT customers will be offered a 4G Mini Hub if their installation is delayed by more than 2 days. Relocating EE customers get the first month of their broadband free, plus 50GB data for their EE device.

➤ 46% who had to wait for their internet received no additional help from their ISP when they complained about the delay. Residents in rural areas were almost twice as likely to not receive extra help, with 62% missing out compared to 32% in urban areas.

➤ Surprisingly, just 25% of movers consider broadband speed a priority when moving to a new home, which compares to 61% who think about the size of property and 55% thinking about the location. This seems to contradict many of the other surveys we’ve seen, which all placed broadband speed as one of the most important factors.

➤ 46% had to pay a fee related to changing their broadband ISP, while 19% had to pay to leave their old contract early, with the average person paying £84. More than a third (35%) also had to pay an installation fee at their new home, which was £74.60 on average.

Moving house tends to be one of life’s most expensive and stressful experiences, although there’s often a limit to how fast you can get a new broadband connection setup in your new home – this will vary due to lots of different factors.

Some of those issues will take longer to resolve than others, such as if you’re moving into a new build property and find the new address isn’t yet recognise by your ISP. Such issues can take months to resolve naturally, but often a call to your chosen ISP will help to sort things out more quickly.

Delays may also creep in if the previous owner is still in the process of cancelling their existing service when you move in, while those migrating between ISPs on the same platform may similarly have to allow a week or so for the switching process to run its course. Some of this is by design and gives people a chance to stop SLAMMING, which occurs when a service is migrated without the owner’s consent (due either to error or fraudulently).

Not to mention that if you need a new line installed on a new network, then it can take extra time to sort all of that out. So, if you need to move quickly then as a general rule it’s wise to have a backup ready to help tide you over until the new service goes live. Most of the time a good unlimited 4G or 5G based mobile broadband connection will do an adequate job, assuming that’s an option (check the coverage of each operator beforehand).

All the big ISPs should be familiar with home movers by now, and it’s worth remembering that most of those will also be subject Ofcom’s automatic compensation scheme, which pays out if there are any delays to a new service going live (here and here). Suffice to say, those providers won’t want to keep you waiting, as it’s in their interest to get you online as quickly as possible.

NOTE: Quite a few ISPs will ask you to give them several weeks notice before you move, so they can prepare (assuming you intend to retain the same provider).

UPDATE 11:13am

We’ve had a couple of comments from BT and EE.

A Spokesperson for EE said:

“We want to make moving home as stress-free as possible, which is why we encourage EE customers to let us know at least three weeks before they move so we help, and they can contact us on 150 from their EE mobile or 0800 079 8586. All of our EE broadband customers who notify us of a move will receive the first month of their broadband free, as well as 50GB of data for their EE device to help them get settled.”

A spokesperson for BT said:

“We want to make moving home as stress-free as possible, and why we have a dedicated Home Move team to help make sure our customers’ broadband is up and running when they enter their new home. All customers need to do is let us know at least 14 days before they move so we can help, and they can contact us online via My BT or call us on 0800 783 0235.

As part of our Keep Connected Promise for all BT Halo customers, we’ll send out a 4G Mini Hub with unlimited data at no extra cost so they can stay online whilst their broadband is being installed. Halo 3+ customers can use Hybrid Connect to connect to EE’s 4G back up connection as soon as they enter their new home.

In addition, all of our BT Broadband and BT Mobile customers also have free access to over 5 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots to help keep them connected and if there’s a delay in connection, we’ll still offer all non-Halo customers a 4G Mini Hub until they’re back up and running again.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo anon5789 says:

    Oh my God! Someone call the police, this is a crime against humanity 😛

  2. Avatar photo Mike says:

    Just use 4G in the mean time…

  3. Avatar photo adslmax says:

    My mate moving from old house to new build house but openreach and ISP BT told him will move his line with same phone number within 7 days but been waited nearly 27 days because openreach say there is no phone socket in his new build house only offer FTTP as they can’t move from FTTC to FTTC. BT still charged him for unused service. Openreach are now connected him to full fibre 500Meg (that’s took nearly 28 days)

    The ISP BT should have told him there is no phone socket in the new home.

    1. Avatar photo 125us says:

      I don’t think BT could know that, it would be a Openreach who hold those records.

  4. Avatar photo Mr Fox says:

    Hah, that’s nothing. I moved in to a new build and had no internet for 3 MONTHS because NOBODY had run cables to the building at all at openreach. They randomly sent a guy out to troubleshoot my open connection request who turned up and went “oh.” and then about ten people showed up that afternoon to pull the cable. Not a single person at the housing association or the builders, openreach or the local council thought to even talk to each other during the construction process. This was only 5yrs ago and we have no signs of FTTP in our area either, so we’re stuck with FTTC too, to make matters even worse. My ISP at the time did NOTHING to compensate and I had to cancel my direct debit to ensure I didn’t get charged.

    1. Avatar photo JmJohnson says:

      That would be the developers issue.
      They install the ducts and then arrange for Openreach to pull the cables to keep the costs lower.
      Openreach rarely do the ducts now on new build estates… only when the developer has missed something.

    2. Avatar photo 125us says:

      Openreach don’t install cabling to new builds, the developers do that.

  5. Avatar photo L.E. Vator says:

    8 days? I wish. The last time I moved I had no internet for months. No room in the cabinet for a new customer.

  6. Avatar photo Karen says:

    I suppose it can be hit/miss. I moved to a new build 2.5 years ago. Openreach engineer was there the day I moved in. I think I was without a connection for 2 hours. I can live with that.

  7. Avatar photo Ribble says:

    When I last moved 5 years I ordered FTTC service a wee before and it was already connected when we moved in.

  8. Avatar photo Tim FitzGerald says:

    Recently moved house and Plusnet shipped new router, Openreach turned up on time and installed line in 3 hours. Broadband was working by mid-afternoon. Thank you Plusnet for organising it all with one phone all and follow-up emails.

Comments are closed

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