How to cancel BT broadband

Aaron Howdle | May 25th, 2023

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You and BT have been together for a while now and it was great at the start, but now it's time to leave. It's pretty straightforward to switch from BT or cancel it altogether; there are just a few things to bear in mind.

Check you're out of contract

It's annoying, but if you are still in your contract with BT, you will be charged a termination fee if you leave. BT's contracts usually last for 24 months. The termination fee is a set charge for every month remaining in your contract. It's not a trifling amount either, and can add up to quite a hefty final bill, so if at all possible we would recommend not cancelling your service until one month before your initial contract period is up.

If you are moving home and BT doesn't serve your new address, it will set you free without a termination fee. However, this is unlikely. What’s more likely is that you may not be able to get the same speed with BT at your new address. If this is the case, unfortunately you will still have to wait for your contract to end before you can switch without being charged termination fees.

If, on the other hand, you are already out of contract (or within a month of it ending), you are free to leave. If you are switching to another provider on the Openreach network, it will do all the cancellation work for you. However, if you are cancelling and not getting a new service, or if you are switching to Virgin Media, you will need to cancel BT yourself, and give 30 days’ notice.

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Choose a new provider

If you intend to switch broadband provider, your first stop is our useful broadband comparison service, where you can find out which packages are available in your area. You can check this using our postcode checker tool.

Most of the broadband providers will be an easy switch for you, because almost all of them use the same Openreach network as BT. Virgin Media is the exception here since it has its own network, and you will have to tell BT you are leaving yourself if you intend to switch to Virgin.

Virgin Media still lays claim to offering the fastest, widely available broadband in the UK, with its Gig1 service that averages over 1000Mbps. However, with the ongoing rollout of full fibre by Openreach, BT is one of several providers that now offers up to 900Mbps, as well as Sky, Vodafone, Plusnet, EE and TalkTalk. Ultrafast, full fibre broadband is not only faster than regular fibre, but it is also likely to remain closer to the advertised speed, since there is no copper wiring to slow down the connection.

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Contact BT

Switching to another provider is by far the easiest way to leave BT broadband; your new provider will handle your split from BT for you and move you onto your new package. The one exception arises when switching to Virgin Media. If you switch to Virgin Media you will need to cancel BT yourself. Be sure to arrange a termination date with BT that matches the activation date of your Virgin Media service so you are without a connection for a minimum time only.

Those cancelling without switching to a new provider need to make a phone call to BT to give it the news. Ensure you have your account details to hand and call: 0800 800150. Bear in mind that BT also offers a number of other services which may be part of your package. For example, if you also have BT TV, which requires a BT broadband connection, you will lose it when you cancel your broadband.

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Check speeds, packages and providers near you

Cable.co.uk's broadband postcode checker will find you the best deals, providers and speeds where you live. It's free and takes less than a minute to check and compare.

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Retention

BT would rather you stayed, so it's possible you will be offered a discount or an upgraded package as an incentive to remain. If BT Full Fibre is available in your area, this might be enough to keep you on board. If speed has been a particular bugbear, then it's good to know BT offers its Stay Fast Guarantee with its Full Fibre services.

Perhaps BT will change your mind. Maybe it's the price that's bothering you? Or perhaps you want an upgrade to fibre broadband? If so, you might get a better deal by agreeing to stay.

It is always worth seeing what you can get by sticking around, but enter the negotiation prepared to walk away if you aren't satisfied with the offer, and always research the market beforehand so you know what you can get elsewhere first.

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See also

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to return BT equipment?

Yes, you have 60 days within which you must return your BT router and any other equipment loaded to you. Simply log into your account and click on Return My Kit. BT will send you a prepaid returns bag.

Can I leave if BT raises its prices?

If BT raises the cost of your package beyond your agreement, you are free to cancel your service and leave within 30 days of being notified. This is due to a ruling by Ofcom which applies to all broadband providers.

Can I leave BT if I have slow download speeds?

You have a contract with BT, which promises certain speeds. If your speeds are consistently lower than promised, BT may be breaking its contract with you, so you can probably leave. However, if you were warned about slow speeds before signing up, then it is likely you will be charged an early termination fee if you leave early. BT will provide you with an estimated speed for your property before you sign up.