How to beat broadband price hikes

Around 10 million BT customers are affected by line rental and broadband price increases announced by the telecoms giant; now a raft of other broadband providers are following suit.

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This summer has marked a tide of price hikes for broadband customers.

Telecoms giant BT has issued its third price hike in 18 months, pushing prices up by around 20%, while Virgin Media and the Post Office have announced average increases of 5%.

BT has already contacted its customers to inform them about the price increases, but here’s a quick summary of the main changes:

Service Old price  New price (from July 2016)  Yearly change
Line rental (standard) £17.99/month £18.99/month £12
Line rental (yearly saver) £194.28/year £205.08/year £10.80
Cost of calls 17.07p/min 19p/min n/a
Landline calls (anytime unlimited) £7.95/month £8.50/month £6.60
Standard broadband £13/month £15/month £24
Unlimited broadband £18/month £20/month £24
Fibre optic broadband - Infinity 1 £20/month £21/month £12
Fibre optic broadband - Unlimited Infinity 1 £23/month £26/month £26
Fibre optic broadband - Unlimited Infinity 2 £30/month £32.50/month £30

 

BT Sport customers are also affected by price rises.

If you’re a BT Broadband customer and BT Sport is an add-on, your bills will increase from £5/month to £6/month. If your BT Sports package is through Sky, prices will increase from £19.99/ month to £21.99/ month.

BT Sport remains free for those with a BT TV package.

Why has BT increased its prices?

BT says that by increasing prices it will be able to offer a better customer experience, along with additional benefits to its service.

For example, line rental customers will now have faults seen to within 24 hours, a day shorter than previous waiting times. Broadband data allowances have also been increased and improved security products and additional BT Cloud storage are being offered to account holders. 

UK call centres are also being rolled out, with BT foreseeing that at least 80% of calls by the end of the year will be picked up in the UK. A free nuisance call filtering product will also be available which aims to divert up to 25m unwanted calls a week from UK landlines. 

Which other broadband providers have increased their prices?

In the last year Plus Net and Talk Talk have both announced price changes. Sky has also pushed up its prices, with some annual subscriptions increasing by as much as £72 a year.

And in the past few weeks the Post Office and Virgin Media have also revised their prices:

Post Office

From September 5, the Post Office is increasing prices for its line rental and broadband packages - £2.99/month will be added to the Home Essential with Home Phone package and £3/month will be added to the Broadband Premium Only package.

Virgin Media

As of November 1, Virgin Media’s 5.1 million customer base will see prices increase for TV and broadband packages.

Packages such as the Big Easy, Big Bang and Big Kahuna will all see their prices increase between £3 -£4 a month.

How to fight back against higher prices

The good news is there are a number of steps you can take to fight back against these price hikes:

1. Change providers within the 30-day notice period

Under Ofcom rules, all line rental, broadband and mobile customers have 30 days from when they are informed about price increases to contact their provider and cancel their contract penalty-free.

Even if you are mid-way through your contract, you will still be able to cancel – so long as you have taken your contract out after January 24, 2014. That said, some providers, such as Virgin and BT, are allowing all customers affected by price hikes to cancel their contract.

Once the 30-day notice period has elapsed and you are still within the minimum terms of your contract (usually the first 12 months), you won’t be able to cancel your contract penalty-free and instead might have to wait until you are out of this period to cancel without incurring costs. 

2. Review what you need

Take a look at what is contributing towards your bill.

If you have a broadband/TV/landline package and you’re not making the most of any additional TV bolts-ons you have, consider cancelling them or look elsewhere for cheaper packages that could better suit your viewing preferences.

Our handy streaming comparison tool will help you work out whether Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV might offer better value for money than your current TV bundle.

3. Shop around and compare deals

Whether it’s just a broadband contract you’re after, or the complete TV, line rental and broadband package, your best bet on finding a competitively priced deal is by shopping around and comparing what each provider has to offer.

4. Haggle with your provider

If you’re willing to stick with your provider but want to secure a better deal, give them a call and see if you can negotiate. Broadband providers are keen to retain customers and considering you have the right to leave penalty-free, it’s definitely worth a shot.

Switching broadband provider is about to get easier

Understanding how much broadband, phone and TV packages cost can be a complicated process, especially when line rental charges are often hidden.

But by the end of October, providers will need to include line rental fees in their headline costs, making it easier for broadband customers to understand exactly how much each deal will set them back.

Vodafone is one of the first broadband providers to announce it will abolish separate line rental fees and will instead advertise one combined price that’s inclusive of broadband and line rental costs. 

Please note: any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.

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