4 Ways To Avoid ETFs: In Contract Moves to Non Serviceable Locations

You are moving unexpectedly, there is still time left on your telecom contract, and your Internet Service Provider is not available at you new location.  What are you options?

Early Termination Fees

One of the first options that your carrier may offer and also the worst option is that you pay their “Early Termination Fee” or “ETF”. Meaning you broke the terms of the agreement by moving and now you owe them a cancellation fee. Generally, unless the ETF is minimal and you were near the end of the term anyways, you’ll want to avoid paying ETFs at all costs.  It is money spent without receiving any value. 

A note about how ETFs are typically calculated.  Each carrier has their own policy, but the default is:

(# of months left in the contract) x (Monthly Spend) = ETF

In other words, you owe every dollar that you were contractually obligated to spend.

This post will explore how you can continue to receive value from the carrier and make good on your contract without having to pay the ETF.


The first thing to know is that as long as you can get to the right person, carriers are generally willing to work with customers to make changes to the agreement so that you can finish out the term of the agreement.

4 Options To Avoid ETFs

#1 Type II Services

You can ask your existing carrier to provide service to you in your “non-serviceable” building, by using the carrier that is serviceable in that building.  The on-net provider will provide the “last mile”, but the billing and customer service will remain with your current carrier.

#2 Find a Location Agnostic Service Provided By Your Carrier

Carriers are constantly looking for new sources of revenue. One of those sources is new products. Some of those products are what I’ll call location agnostic, meaning that they can provide them to you whether or not they have their network into your building.  Examples of such services include:

  • Hosted Voice Systems
  • Managed Firewalls and or Routers
  • Cloud Computing and Storage Services

#3 Move Your Telecom Spend to Another Location

This one only works if your company has multiple sites. Find a need for a service at another location of yours that the carrier can make it to and move services to that site.

This means that you can then work directly with the carrier in the building at your new location, once you’ve found another home for the services from your prior contract. 

#4 Pay the ETF with a 0% Interest Loan

If none of these options will work for you and you are looking at paying the ETF, there is a sneaky way to get a 0% interest rate loan to pay the remaining ETF.  Don’t disconnect the service.  It’s not actually a loan, but by not disconnecting the service until the term end date you will continue to pay the monthly invoices each month paying down what would have been the ETF.

Keep in mind, this is a terrible option.  It means that none of the options above worked, and it also sets up a few possible issues that you need to mitigate against.

  1. If you are moving, make sure to take the equipment with you, so that you can return it at the end of the term.
  2. Keep track of the contract end date, and be sure to engage the carrier at least 60 days in advance of that date to request a discount.

Bonus Tip: Extend the Term

This is an add-on option.  Let’s say you choose to pick a location agnostic service, but that service cost less than your current service that you need to terminate. 

Ask for a longer term length.  Example:  Maybe you only had 1 year left on your internet services and now you ask for a 3 year managed firewall contract to cover all of the remaining $$$ owed.

Making the Best Of It.

Of all the move possibilities in the chart this is the worst scenario, but hopefully this post will help you make the best of it.

As always, let me know if I can help in any way.