How to stay online while moving house in 2024

We explain how to stay online while moving house – a crucial yet often overlooked part of relocating.

Monday, 8 January, 2024

A combination of high prices, rising mortgage rates, ambitious sellers and desperate buyers made 2023 a difficult year for house hunters.

However, there are signs 2024 will be easier, as mortgage rates drop below five per cent, prises stabilise and attempts are made to unblock our sclerotic planning system.

Regardless of when, why or how you’re planning to move house, advanced planning remains essential.

Yet transferring broadband access to a new property is often overlooked amid more pressing concerns, such as obtaining removal firm quotes and concluding contracts.

Ensuring your next home has broadband provision from the day you move in is just as important as setting up a postal redirection service or transferring utility contracts.

These are our tips on how to stay online while moving house, ensuring your internet is up and running even before the removal van has been emptied…

Staying with your existing provider

If your existing ISP provides services in your new postcode, and you’re happy to remain with them, give them as much notice as possible of your scheduled relocation date.

They’ll probably have a dedicated team handling customer house moves, who will coordinate switchover dates and discuss achievable line speeds at your new address.

If you’re not happy with your existing service and want to look elsewhere, serve notice in excess of the minimum you’re contractually obliged to provide.

Ensure you’re not still mid-contract, as punitive exit fees might be incurred by cancelling now.

If you’ve had service issues, you may be able to negotiate an early release, but cost alone shouldn’t be the only reason to switch broadband provider.

An upcoming house move provides a good starting point for negotiating a new contract, possibly at a lower rate. Avoid quad-play packages unless you really need their added extras.

Looking for a new provider

Start your investigations by running your next property’s postcode through the search box on our homepage, to view broadband deals available in your new area.

This will also give you an indication of achievable line speeds.

We’ve covered line speeds many times before, so here’s a quick recap: speeds of 10-11Mbps indicate an ADSL line that’ll struggle with HD streaming, online gaming or large data uploads.

Speeds of around 35 or 65Mbps cover two tiers of Fibre to the Cabinet connections, while anything above this is likely to be a full fibre connection from the network directly into your home.

Most high street ISPs use the Openreach network of subterranean cables, but other full fibre companies (CityFibre, Virgin Media, Grain, etc.) may have installed proprietary cable networks.

Companies won’t extend a nearby network into your home unless a connection already exists. If a provider has cabled the next street but not yours, they’re very unlikely to install new cabling.

Go mobile

If there’s any risk of broadband not being up and running on the day you move in, there are still ways to stay online.

You could invest in a MiFi hub or a wireless 4G/5G dongle, creating modestly-sized WiFi networks powered by a mobile network.

These are expensive, but usually dependable, though different networks deliver varying signal strength in any given area, especially indoors.

Check coverage maps to ensure your preferred network will be useable inside your next home, rather than in the garden (which still counts as coverage).

Set MiFi networks up in your existing property, connecting core devices (such as smartphones or kids’ tablets) in advance.

That way, you can arrive at the new house, turn on the router or dongle, and it should instantly start conveying data to priority devices.

This is especially important if you’re relying on the internet to manage any part of your move, or if you need a connection to power essential medical or personal equipment.

House moves usually take place on a Friday, and contacting broadband support services may be harder over the weekend, so prioritise this once you receive the keys to your new house.

Promptly reporting any connectivity or broadband issues might ensure you’re online before the weekend starts, helping you to stay online while moving house.

Neil Cumins author picture


Neil is our resident tech expert. He's written guides on loads of broadband head-scratchers and is determined to solve all your technology problems!