How long does it take to get broadband installed?

Man deploying fibre in manhole in Hythe
(Image credit: Openreach)

Whether you're moving home, switching suppliers or getting broadband installed for the first time, finding a new broadband deal and arranging installation may seem like a confusing process.

For example, you've likely already noticed that installation lead times vary based on a variety of factors, including your chosen provider, whether you're switching or getting broadband installed for the first time, the broadband type you've selected, where you live and whether you need to get a phone line installed as part of the process. 

To make the broadband installation process as clear as possible, we've put together this in-depth guide, which explains all of the basics of broadband installation, including time frames from each of the UK's most popular internet providers.

How long will the installation process take?

As we've mentioned, installation times vary based on several factors, including but not limited to which company you use, where you live, and whether or not you need a phone line. 

That said, although the exact timeframe will vary based on your personal circumstances, the average internet installation time for any provider is two weeks. 

Remember though, there are specific situations where setup can be either considerably faster, or take much longer.

What broadband speed do I need?

(Image credit: CASEZY)

What does the process involve?

No matter whether you’re getting broadband for the first time, switching provider or upgrading your connection to a faster option, you’ll probably go through an installation process that looks something like this: 

  • You sign up for your new deal. At this point, you'll receive an estimated time and date for broadband installation.
  • Once you've signed your contract and paid any upfront fees, your new provider will confirm what installation work needs to be carried out. They will also then set a date (and potentially a time slot).
  • On the day, your engineer will then carry out all of the necessary work. This could include: 
    • Fitting a box/socket to the outside of your property
    • Fitting new internal connections for the connection
    • Connecting these two outlets together
    • Connecting and setting up your new router or broadband hub
  • If you're switching from fibre to Full Fibre, then the process is slightly more complicated, as the engineer will need to disconnect your old service and fully install a new one.
  • Once they have completed their work, the engineer will test your connection. At this point, your broadband has been installed and your connection will be live.

However, although this is the basic process that most people will go through when they get a new broadband connection installed, the exact process for you will depend on the type of connection you're receiving and the provider you've chosen. 

For example, if you've previously received your broadband from a company that uses the Openreach network but you're now moving to Virgin Media or Hyperoptic, then an additional cable may need to be installed under your house. This can delay the process. 

On the other hand, in some cases where a broadband line is already active, such as if you already have Virgin Media cables leading into your home, or if you're switching from one Openreach provider to another, you may be able to self-install your connection on the chosen day. Your new provider will confirm whether this is possible when you sign up.

switch broadband

Alternatives to traditional broadband installation processes

Looking to get online more quickly? Well, you may be better served by a non-traditional connection. 

For example, if you choose a 4G or 5G broadband option instead of a traditional fixed-line connection, then you can get online the very next day. This is because these types of broadband work via mobile signals, like a smartphone does. As a result, no invasive work is required and you simply need to put a SIM card into your router, which is sent to you in the post. 

However, there are pros and cons associated with this type of connection, and you should make sure you fully understand the differences before you take out a 4G or 5G package. You should also be aware that these packages are not universally available and you'll need to make sure that you live in an area where you have access to these signals. 

5g broadband router

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Broadband installation timescales

Swipe to scroll horizontally
ProviderIf you have a landlineIf you don't have a landline
BT14 days21 days
Sky14 days21 days
TalkTalk14 days21 days
Virgin Media14 days14 days
All other providers14 days21 days

As you can see above, the broadband installation process usually takes 14 days. However, as we’ve mentioned above, exactly how long it takes really will depend on the broadband type you’ve chosen and what installation work you need.

For example, although it generally takes two weeks to install broadband with BT if you're either moving home or switching products (such as moving from fibre to full fibre), the process can be much quicker. BT says that if you're staying at the same address and keeping the same type of connection, then the switch can take place on the same day. 

Occasions when the broadband installation process may take longer

Of course, although the process can be shorter than two weeks, it can also take longer.

For example, if you live in a new build property, then you may have to wait until you physically move into the property before you order your new broadband package. This is because, in order for your phone line and broadband connection to be installed, your property needs to have a registered postcode. 

Similarly, if you live in an apartment, it can take longer to install your broadband, particularly if you live in a high-rise property. Additionally, there can also be complications if you live in a rented property, as you'll need to get permission from your landlord before you can get any invasive installation work done by an engineer.

Finally, it's also important to remember that appointment availability is also a factor, particularly if you work from the office Monday to Friday and the engineer needs access to your home. Similarly, if you book a slot and either miss your appointment or need to rearrange it, this will create an additional delay (and possibly a charge). 

Broadband installation cost

Most providers now install broadband for free. However, you may have to pay a small upfront fee that covers the delivery of your new router and any admin fees that the provider incurs. 

The exception to this is if you need to get a new phone line installed at your property (however, this is increasingly rare). This can cost anything from £20 with Sky to £140 with BT.  

Broadband and TV installation

How long does it take to install a broadband and TV bundle?

Looking for a broadband and TV bundle? Well, usually the installation process is similar and the majority of providers will attempt to connect both services at the same time. 

Of course, if you sign up for a package that offers satellite television channels, then you'll need to get a dish installed. You may also require further cabling or an aerial, depending on the exact package you've selected. Obviously, this can cause further delays. That said, most of the major broadband providers are now very well organised, and you can still expect that your broadband and TV connections will both go live in around two weeks. 

By contrast, if you've simply opted for a package that offers streaming, the connection is reliant on your internet being up-and-running. So, once you've gone through the broadband installation process outlined above, you'll be able to access your chosen TV package as well. 

Finding your next broadband deal

Now you know how long it will take to get your new broadband connection installed, you can press ahead and secure yourself a great new broadband deal from your chosen provider. 

The best way to do this is by using the widget below. Simply provide us with your postcode and we'll show you all of the best broadband deals that are available in your area. Then, just select your favourite and follow the sign-up process. Your new provider will then confirm exactly how long the broadband installation process will take. 

Tom Brook

Tom is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with over a decade of experience. Originally from an agency background, he is proud to have worked on campaigns for a number of energy providers, comparison sites and consumer brands.