The Ultimate Guide to Quick Broadband Installation and Activation

Key Points

  • Setting up a new broadband service typically takes around 14 working days.
  • An engineer visit is unnecessary if you don't already have the infrastructure in place - such as a phone line, fibre optic cable, or cable line - to access the internet.
  • Avoid delay by planning your installation well and verifying that your property meets the necessary criteria.

When you move into a new home, there are many things to take care of - from unpacking your boxes to settling into your new surroundings. But one of the most important tasks is getting online. Moving into a building with outdated wiring or no internet can be difficult and frustrating. That's why it's essential to have a broadband plan before packing your bags!

Broadband installation can be pretty daunting, especially if you're unfamiliar with the process. There are many options available when it comes to broadband, but not all of them are perfect for everyone. This article will walk you through the fastest and easiest method to set your broadband up and activate it in no time! We provide you with an overview of the entire process from start to finish, including what is involved and how long it takes the leading internet providers to get everything set up.

How does broadband installation work in the UK?

It will take around two weeks for a broadband connection to be delivered to your home in the UK - assuming everything is ready at the property, including the necessary wiring and equipment. However, there may be cases where it takes longer due to unforeseen circumstances or other factors beyond control.

A specialist will first visit your home to assess the situation and identify what's necessary to get an internet connection up and running at your new place. This includes checking the property address, removing any old cables and fixtures, locating existing wiring and marking where your modem, phone line and broadband connection will go. Once the technician checks and confirms everything, you'll be contacted to book an installation date. Generally speaking, broadband installation in the UK can take between one and two hours to complete.

But if you are looking for an alternative that's both faster and easier to set up, consider Three's 4G & 5G home broadband service. The plug-and-play setup offered by Three is easy to use and can be installed by yourself without the help of an engineer. You can get your internet service the next working day without any delay at all!

How long does each ISP make you wait for broadband installation?

Unsure how long you'll have to wait to get online? Confused about which ISP will get internet installed for you the quickest?

Each broadband provider has a different turnaround time for broadband installation, and it can be hard to know which would work best for you. By comparing and compiling the best UK providers, we have made it easier for you to find an ISP that meets your needs. Scroll down to learn more about each ISP and the time it takes to establish broadband.

Activation times for Openreach providers

The time it takes for an Openreach provider to activate an internet connection counts from when you sign the contract to when the internet is provided to your devices. Here are some rough estimates of broadband installation times for the leading providers that use Openreach.

Installation and activation time for BT

With a landline: 14 days

Without a landline: 21 days

BT will inform you of the estimated time it will take for installation once you place an order and agree on a date for the broadband service to be installed. The cost of a new landline is around £140, while the cost of reactivating an old line is £70. However, BT will waive its charges if you get a broadband service simultaneously with your landline service. The cost of installation for BT's Fibre broadband (previously known as BT Infinity) is usually around £60, but there are sometimes special deals that reduce the cost of this service.

In addition to the installation costs, there is usually a £9.99 delivery charge for your BT router.

Installation time for Sky Broadband

With a landline: 14 days

Without a landline: 21 days

Since BT and Sky use the same Openreach network, your installation wait times will be similar. The cost of a new Sky Broadband connection depends on whether or not you require a new landline. If you don't have a landline, a new Sky Broadband connection costs £20. However, if you already have one, the new connection is free. Depending on your chosen bundle, you may be required to pay a setup fee (£9.95).

Installation time for TalkTalk

With a landline: 15 days

Without a landline: 21 days

TalkTalk also uses Openreach's infrastructure, so your installation wait times will be similar. Assuming you do not have a landline, your order must wait around three weeks before processing. The installation price will vary depending on which package you choose. TalkTalk's fibre broadband typically comes without setup fees, but there may be a charge of £60 if you need a landline. Your new router should arrive via Royal Mail within the next few days of signing the contract.

Installation time for Plusnet

With a landline: 14 days

Without a landline: 19 days

If you have a landline, signing up for Plusnet is a breeze. And can be done remotely, without requiring an engineer to visit. However, If you don't, a process similar to that described for other Openreach providers will be performed. Plusnet charges £49.99 for a new landline, but it's free if you already have one - and there may also be a setup cost depending on the package you choose.

Installation and activation wait time for other Openreach providers

Many other broadband providers use the BT Openreach network to provide services. These include NOW Broadband, EE, iTalk, First Utility, Post Office, and John Lewis Broadband. Because all these providers use the same service (BT Openreach), installation periods are similar, ranging from two to three weeks. But setup fees vary per provider. Some do not charge anything for new consumers, while others, such as John Lewis, charge £49.99. Any setup or installation fees should be explicitly stated before you sign the contract.

Installation time for Virgin Media

Unlike Openreach network providers, Virgin Media has its own network. You don't need a landline to use Virgin. But despite this, if you're looking to get a new Virgin Media broadband connection installed, you'll have to wait the same amount of time which is currently 14 days. It will cost you £40 to install and an additional £20 for activation.

QuickStart is a self-service package Virgin Media provides for people who don't have an existing connection with the company. Your self-service package may be delivered to your house or collected from a Collect+ shop. The best part is that it is effortless to set up, and you get internet access within just four days of placing your order.

Step-by-step process of broadband installation

There's no need to be nervous when it comes to broadband installation. Most providers will have a step-by-step guide they'll send you before your installation day, or they may even do it while you're home. Generally speaking, the process goes something like this:

  • After signing up with a provider, you will be given an estimate of when your installation will occur.
  • Your provider will confirm your anticipated installation date and a time or time window.
  • When the technician visits, he or she will inform you that your connection is being worked on. They may not require instant entry to your home since they have preliminary work to conduct outdoors first. But they will ask where you want your internet connection to enter your house.
  • After the outdoor setup is finished, the engineer may need access to your home to install a box on the wall, allowing them to connect your house to the network.
  • The engineer will examine the connection and test the router. Most carriers will provide you with the router beforehand.
  • Following the completion of your broadband installation, you may experience a slight delay while the provider establishes an account with your property and configures their network. In most cases, this should take no more than ten minutes to complete.
  • Once that's done, you'll be able to start using your broadband connection immediately. Make sure everything is in order before you sign any completion contracts related to your broadband installation!

No matter what type of broadband or UK operator you choose, the process is always the same. Depending on the size and scope of the installation, it may take between an hour and two hours to complete.

What could hinder your broadband installation?

Nowadays, the broadband installation process has become much more convenient than ever. With the help of a broadband technician, you can have high-speed internet installed in no time. But there are a few things that can cause delays to your broadband installation:

No landline phone: As explained earlier, your broadband connection will be delayed if you don't have a landline. It is up to the service provider to get an engineer to put it up for you as soon as possible. You will also have to pay extra to have a landline installed.

Living in a rented property: Your broadband service will likely be unavailable if you rent a house from a landlord. The terms of the rental agreement also play a role in obtaining a broadband connection quicker. Before installing a phone line or broadband, acquire permission from your landlord. Also, to avoid cancellation or extra charges, sign a contract no longer than the length of your rental term.

Living in a flat: Many flats not designed initially for broadband installation can be challenging when installing a network. Your broadband installation engineer must first locate the 'distribution point' if you live in a high-rise flat. Your flat may not be considered a standard installation, leading to higher costs.

Living in a newly built home: If you have recently moved into a new home and do not have a postcode, the Post Office and either BT or Virgin Media may be unable to reach you. You must first register your address with Royal Mail before you can order a phone line or internet.

Missed the appointment: Make sure you or a family member over 18 are on the premises on the installation day. Additional delays may occur if the appointment is rescheduled.

Is a technician always needed for broadband installation?

Are you planning on switching broadband providers within the same network? (for example, between Openreach providers) Do you have all the connections in place? If so, you don't need an engineer visit, and the switch can happen remotely. Also, if your Virgin Media connection has recently lapsed, you don't need to call an engineer.

Your provider will inform you in advance while signing the contract if an expert is required to visit your property to install equipment or wiring.

How can you speed up the broadband installation process?

The installation process is relatively fast and straightforward, and you can do a few things to expedite it.

  • Be present on the day of the installation. This will help avoid delays and ensure the installation goes as smoothly as possible.
  • Ensure that all necessary connections are made in advance to minimise disruption during the installation process. This includes preparing your telephone line and computer for hook-up if they're not already connected and ensuring a power source is available.
  • Confirm all required paperwork is completed and ready to be presented to the technician. This includes verifying your address and providing necessary documentation, such as a property deed or recent utility bills.
  • Give accurate location details to your broadband provider. By doing this, technicians can more easily find your home once they arrive onsite.

Are you trying to find the best broadband provider for your home? We know that it can be incredibly confusing and overwhelming, which is why we've created this comparison tool to help you find broadband packages available in your location. Simply sort or filter results to ensure that the service you choose meets your needs.


How long does broadband installation take?

A broadband service provider would take two weeks to complete the installation once you have provided all the required information. However, this time can vary depending on how busy the provider is at that particular time.

Can you install broadband yourself?

The majority of leading broadband providers allow for self-installation. Some providers only dispatch professionals as a last choice if issues prevent you from setting up the connection yourself.

How much does broadband installation cost?

The cost of broadband installation typically ranges from £20 to £60. However, this will vary depending on the provider and your location.

How long does Sky Broadband installation take?

Sky installations usually take around 14 days to install from when you've signed the contract, but this can vary depending on the installation.