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Transferring Your Internet Service

In a world that's more connected than ever, you want the transition from Internet service at your old home to your new one to be as smooth as possible. The advice below provides the step-by-step process for transferring your Internet service, so that you're up and running at your new place without missing a thing.

Canceling or Keeping
Your Internet Service

The first step is deciding whether you want to stay with your existing service provider or sw itch to a new provider.

If you want to stay with your existing provider, here are some questions to consider:

  • Will service be available at your new address?
  • Will you be tied into a new contract after you move?
  • Would you like to upgrade to faster Internet service with your existing provider?


Check the speed of your existing Internet service using the Geek Squad® speed checker. This will give you a benchmark for your existing Internet speed in order to help you decide whether you want to upgrade to a faster speed with your current provider or a new provider.

Choosing a New Internet
Service Provider

If you decide to switch providers, you'll first need to call your existing provider and cancel your service. Keep in mind that there may be early cancellation fees if you cancel services before the contract period ends. However, there may be exceptions if you are moving and the provider does not offer service at your new address.

Depending on where you live, you might be able to choose between multiple providers or you might have only a few choices. Either way, here are some tips on how to compare different types of broadband Internet connections, including cable, DSL, satellite, fiber optic and mobile broadband.

Types of Internet service



Cable broadband is transmitted through a coaxial cable from a cable television provider. If you bundle cable, Internet and/or phone services, you often can save money with a package deal.


  • Faster than DSL or mobile broadband
  • More widely available than fiber optic


Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) broadband operates over telephone lines. The closer you live to the provider's central office, the faster and more reliable your Internet service will be. Since DSL uses a filter to separate voice and data signals, it won't interfere with your phone service. Bundling DSL and phone service can save you money


  • Often more affordable than other broadband options
  • Stable, consistent speeds, since you get a dedicated service line


Receiving Internet service through a satellite dish is available almost anywhere you live. In fact, satellite Internet is sometimes the only option available for rural areas. It's also an affordable option if you plan to bundle with satellite TV service.


  • Access to Internet in areas without cable, DSL or fiber optic services
  • Improvements to satellite service offer much faster download speeds than previously available

Fiber optic

As the newest broadband option, fiber optic lines connect you to the Web at the fastest speeds possible. While only available in limited areas, fiber optic is growing as service providers replace aging copper-based networks with fiber-optic lines.


  • Incredibly fast download and upload speeds
  • Highly reliable connection

Mobile Broadband

If you don't spend a lot of time streaming TV, movies and music or surfing the Internet, you may find that a mobile broadband hotspot with 3G or 4G data provides all the service you need. Monthly or pay-as-you-go plans keep your options flexible.


  • Often more affordable than other broadband options for users who need only a limited amount of data
  • Mobile hotspot lets you access the Internet away from home

Comparison Chart

*Actual speed availability varies by provider and may not be available in all areas.
Find an Internet service provider in your area:

If you're thinking about switching providers, Best Buy offers connections to many major providers. We'll help you compare the prices and features of plans from most major providers all in one place.

How much Internet speed do you need?

Internet service providers offer different speeds based on the plan you choose. A faster connection is important if you want to be able to stream movies and music. Faster speeds also keep your Internet connection running smoothly when there are multiple devices on your network at the same time.

Internet speed is measured by download and upload speeds. Download speeds measure how long it takes to transfer information from the Internet to your computer, which determines how quickly you can download large files or photos and how smoothly you can stream videos and music. Upload speeds determine how long it takes to send information from your computer to the Internet, which makes a big difference when you're playing games online or uploading photos to a website or cloud storage account.

Certain tasks require a faster Internet connection, such as full home automation and streaming high-definition movies or shows. When you're comparing providers, keep in mind that even though providers advertise the fastest speed for their plans, you may experience slower speeds, depending on a number of factors. For example, if your Internet service is through a cable provider, you may have slower speeds during peak times of the day, such as in the evening hours after work.

Download Speed

Internet Usage Minimum Speed Needed Per User and Device
Web surfing 1.5 Mbps
E-mail 1.5 Mbps
Social media 1.5 Mbps
Downloading photos, music or videos 3 Mbps
Music streaming 1.5 Mbps
DVD-quality streaming 3 Mbps
1080p-quality streaming 7 Mbps
3D-quality streaming 12 Mbps
4K Ultra HD-quality streaming 30 Mbps

Upload Speed

Internet Usage Minimum Speed Needed Per User and Device
Online interactive gaming 3 Mbps
Sligbox usage 3 Mbps
Remote cloud access 3 Mbps
Uploading photos or videos 3 Mbps
Modem: buy or rent?

Although some providers include the modem for free as part of your service agreement, others charge a monthly rental fee. If you only plan to stay with your provider for a limited number of months, renting may be the cheaper option. However, in most cases, it's cheaper in the long run to buy your own modem.

Advantages of renting a modem:

  • Repair and replacement services covered
  • Possibility of upgrading your modem for free

Advantages of buying a modem:

  • Usually cheaper in the long run
  • No worries about rental fees increasing
  • Broader choice of modems

If you do plan to buy your own modem, contact your Internet service provider first and ask if they plan to upgrade their services in the near future. You want to make sure that the modem you purchase will be compatible with your provider for at least as long as it takes to offset the cost of the modem.

Accessing the Internet During Your Move

Accessing the Web in the middle of your move can help make the process less hectic. By turning your smartphone into a mobile hotspot, you can connect to the Internet on your laptop or tablet even if your Internet service isn't set up yet.

If you're not sure how to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot, contact your mobile service provider for help.

If you have a connected tablet, you can activate data service for the time period during your move. Another option is to purchase a mobile hotspot device, which allows you to connect multiple devices to the Internet at home or on the go.

Connecting to Your New Internet Service

When you're ready to get Internet service set up at your new home, you can either hire a professional to install the Internet connection, or you can do it yourself. Here are some tips to help you prepare.

Professional installation

Not sure which cord goes where? Call your Internet service provider or the Geek Squad for help. A professional installer can make sure everything is working properly and answer any questions you may have.

Steps to follow:

  1. Schedule your installation appointment.
  2. Prepare the area for installation. Make sure cable and power outlets are easy to access, and keep pets out of the area during installation.
  3. Make sure everything is working as it should be and that you understand how to operate your connected devices before the technician leaves.
Do-it-yourself installation

If you're comfortable with technology, setting up your own Internet service can save you money. Most Internet service providers include step-by-step instructions for connecting your devices to the Internet.

Steps to follow:

  1. Contact your Internet service company to find out what equipment you need. If you are switching providers, you may need to purchase a new modem, satellite dish or other equipment.
  2. Purchase a self-install kit.
  3. Follow the installation instructions provided by your Internet service company.

Now that your Internet service is up and running, learn more about how to set up a home automation system.

Special Offers for Internet Service

Check out these special offers for new service activation with DIRECTV, Xfinity, CenturyLink and other providers.

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