When did you last switch broadband supplier?

If you can’t remember or it was years ago, chances are you’re paying much more than you need to

Young lady  texting while using a laptop at the cafe.

People often stick with the same provider year after year simply because the choice of deals can seem overwhelming, but there are ways to narrow down the options available to you.

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Mark Pocock, of broadband comparison site broadbandchoices.co.uk, said: “First, have a think about how you use your broadband right now. For example, if you live in a busy household, where lots of people use several different gadgets at once, a fibre optic package will be the best option for you.

Conversely, if you’re in a quieter house and only use the internet to update Facebook or send emails, a standard ADSL broadband package will do just fine.”

If speed is a priority, one of the best superfast deals currently available, according to broadbandchoices.co.uk, is Vodafone’s Superfast 1 deal, which has a guaranteed speed of 25MB and costs £21 a month, whilst Virgin Media’s Vivid 50 Fibre Broadband deal, has an average speed of 54MB, comes with a £50 bill credit and costs £27 a month. You’ll need to get your skates on if you want the Virgin deal as this particular offer is only available until April 28.

If you don’t need speeds quite that fast, the Post Office has an unlimited broadband deal available with speeds up to 11MB costing £15.90 a month. This offer finishes at the end of June.

According to Ofcom 95% of the country has access to superfast broadband services – meaning speeds of 24Mbps or faster, yet research by comparison service uSwitch.com found that only half (56%) of households are aware they can have superfast in their home.

If you’re still unsure about which deal to go for, you can try an online speed checker which will tell you how fast your current broadband is, and give you an accurate reading of upload and download speeds so you can work out how much you’ll need each month.

New compensation for broadband customers when things go wrong

 Many people are put off changing broadband supplier because they think they could face delays or problems during the switching process.

However, under recently introduced Ofcom rules, broadband users will receive automatic compensation when they experience delayed repairs, installations or missed engineer appointments.

The rules mean that any householder who reports internet outages that aren’t repaired after two full working days will receive £8 a day in compensation, refunded on their next bill. If an engineer fails to turn up for a scheduled appointment, or it is cancelled with less than 24 hours’ notice, compensation is £25, and there’s £5 compensation for each calendar day there’s a delay with the start of a new service.

However, the scheme is voluntary, so to be eligible for compensation when things go wrong, your supplier must have signed up to it.  BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Zen Internet have already signed up, and Hyperoptic and Vodafone have also agreed to the new terms, and will start paying compensation automatically later this year.

Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, said: “We think it’s unacceptable that people should be kept waiting for a new line, or a fault to be fixed.

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“These new protections mean phone and broadband firms will want to avoid problems occurring in the first place. But if they fall short, customers must be treated fairly and given money back, without having to ask for it.”