Psychologists say that moving house can be one of the most traumatic experiences we go through, right up there with marriage, having children and a death in the family.
Broadband, phone and TV are the last thing you want to think about when you are making sure that your furniture and family treasures will survive the move, your children are busy fighting over bedrooms and your pets are settling into the new home.
Thankfully the UK’s broadband and TV providers will try to make the process easier. Just remember that it is unlikely your broadband or pay-TV will be re-connected on the day of your move. So prepare to rely on your smartphone or mobile for any internet needs in the meantime.
Our advice is to make sure you know how to tether your phone to your laptop so you can stay online and pack a few favourite DVDs in an easy-to-find location so you and your family have something to wind down with on the big day.
Keeping and redirecting your phone number
You can usually keep your phone number with BT if you are moving within the same dialling code (eg Wolverhampton 01902), but you will need a whole new number if you arere moving to a new area, or leaving Virgin Media for a BT-based landline provider.
If you are moving to a new area code, or going to or from Virgin Media, you can order Caller Redirect and have calls to your old number redirected to your new number until you feel everyone knows it. Not that many people still use their landline, but good to know for those that do.
Sky is unable to transfer your phone number to a new location, so you will have to have a new number.
Upgrade to fibre or TV
You may be moving into range of a BT exchange which has been enabled for fibre broadband, so keep an eye out for deals that will let you put a faster connection into your new home.
If you have only had Freeview or Freesat, then BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin will all be keen for you to take a TV package when you move. They might even offer a very good deal (usually always better than if an existing customer, but we will spare you our customer loyalty frustrations).
Early termination charges
You may have to pay early termination charges If you cancel one or more of your products when you move home and you are within the minimum contract period.
These can apply even if it is not your fault – such as moving to an area where there is no fibre broadband or Virgin Media cable service, or satellite dishes aren’t allowed. There is nothing you can really do about that other than write a strongly worded letter and hope for the best.
Virgin will expect you to return your Super Hub and cable TV box or TiVo if you cancel, or you will have to pay the full value, but they will send out packaging to make it easier.
New or reactivated BT or cable line
If the home’s previous occupant never used the BT or Virgin Media line you need, you will need to get it reactivated. If there is no line, it will need to be installed. That means spending money.
BT Openreach charges £130 as standard, but most ISPs offer a connection charge discount which can bring it down to as little as £30 so not so bad. But still annoying.
Don’t leave it too late
It will take at least two weeks to arrange the move, but if you know your moving date earlier, contact your ISP as soon as possible. The more organised you are, the less time you will have to be without home broadband. Potentially, anyway.
Have all your information ready before you start
You will need your current ISP and / or TV provider’s account number, your movine date and your new address and postcode. Sky will also want to know what type of building you’re moving to – is it detached, terraced or a flat?
From now on, we would recommend you write all the important account and order numbers in a Word or Google Docs document so you only have to dig them out once and they are ready to go when you call.
Original documents, letters and even emails can be hard to track down, but if you can open them instantly in an app on your smartphone or tablet, you will feel a lot more confident.
What do the broadband providers offer for home movers?
BT has a handy checklist of everything you should follow when moving home, from six weeks ahead, and the BT process itself is very much like ordering BT broadband or phone from scratch.
The only difference is that you will need your existing BT account number and phone number, as well as your new address (including postcode) and your moving date.
The online service will tell you if you can keep your number and your expected broadband speed. You can then choose the services you want at your new address, add on any upgrades and place your order.
If your new address has a working phone line, BT should be able to switch you over with standard ADSL broadband on the day you move.
When you move, you should take your BT Hub and BT Vision or YouView box, plus cables, and in many cases you will be able to self-install them at your new home.
BT will also advise you of any engineer appointments to install a new line or fibre broadband and YouView services. Someone will need to be at home for these visits.
Sky will move your broadband, phone and TV for free and won’t charge you for any time when your broadband and phone are disconnected. You just have to sign in.
When you have registered with Sky Home Move online, an adviser will call within 36 hours to go through the details and complete your order. Sky cannot transfer your phone number to a new location, as previously said, so you will have to have a new number.
You will need to take your Sky box, viewing card, router, wireless connector, phone microfilters and cables with you when you move (you can leave the ones from your dish). You will also need permission to install a dish if there isn’t one there already.
If there is already a satellite dish at the new property, you may be able to self-install your Sky box and you may be able to self-install your broadband router. If not, then Sky will arrange standard engineer visits for free to install a dish or phone line and socket.
There will be a charge if the dish installation cannot be accessed safely without using standard equipment, if cables must be concealed in lofts or under floorboards or if there is additional cabling for a communal installation in a block of flats.
TalkTalk’s free online service lets you choose a date, check the home phone line and broadband availability at your new address and choose the services you want. And it even provides a video to help explain everything.
You will be kept up to date via text messages or email, you will receive a welcome pack for your new home as you did when you first signed with TalkTalk and you can even change the date if there is a delay to your move.
You will need to take your broadband router and YouView box to your new home, plus any cables and phone socket microfilters.
Most customers will be able to self-install their router and YouView box, but there will be a charge if you need a BrightSpark engineer to visit. So best to rope in the help of your most tech-savvy relation if you want to save a few quid.
Virgin Media customers can run through an online service or contact the Movers team on 150 from a Virgin landline or mobile phone.
Around 50 per cent of UK homes are passed by Virgin’s cable network and the online service will tell you what services are available at your new address.
If you are outside of a cable region, you can transfer to Virgin’s National service for phone and broadband, using BT’s up-to-20Mbps DSL network. Virgin National customers cannot get TV over cable, and you will be given a new router.
Otherwise, you will need to take your Super Hub, cable box or TiVo, and cables such as HDMI and Ethernet, to your new house. There’s no self-install option for Virgin Media, but an engineer visit will be arranged by the Mover team.
It is worth noting you can encourage the new inhabitants of your old home to stick with Virgin Media and in doing so you and they get £50 of credit.
Similar story if moving home and you have a Plusnet connection. Click the link above, give them a call on one of the phone numbers provided and have your new address and username ready to go. Two to three weeks notice is recommended so no harm in being too keen.
You can keep your existing number providing you are in the same phone exchange area. If not, new number for you. Plusnet will let you move your broadband once without a fee and charge you £54.17 plus VAT if you move again before your contract is out.
On the subject of YouView, it will go with you to your new home providing you have at least a 15Mb speed, working Freeview TV aerial and strong enough digital TV coverage in your new home (Plusnet can check this for you).
Direct Save Telecom offers free line activation and low-cost line installation when you move into a new home, even if you are not already a customer.
You will have to sign up to an 18-month deal, which gives you unlimited broadband with inclusive evening and weekend UK calls for £1.95/month, plus £15.95/month line rental.
If you need a new phone line installed, it costs £29.95 instead of the £130 BT charges.