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ed vaizey detail

The government has urged broadband providers to stop charging households for services that they do not use.

According to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, households are having to pay rental charges for landline connections even if they do not actually make fixed line calls, the Telegraph reports.

He has therefore asked to meet with representatives of BT, Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk to discuss the subject, as he believes they are operating an "analogue billing system in a digital world".

"You get these headline prices which are misleading. People should pay for what they use," Mr Vaizey commented.

"If the companies come up with a different pricing structure, that is fine, as long as they can see what they are paying for. Some people want to get rid of their landline entirely and pay for their broadband."

Mr Vaizey stressed that while this could push up prices for some products, consumers would at least know what they are paying for and be able to make a proper comparison between different providers.

The government's stance on this issue has been backed by industry regulator Ofcom, which said prices need to be clearer.

A spokesman for the watchdog said: "Broadband advertising should show the full cost up front, including any set-up fees. So we are working closely with our sister regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, which expects to make changes in the summer.”

Grant Shapps, a former Cabinet Minister who now heads the British Infrastructure Group, added that the Culture Minister is "absolutely right" to say that the current contracts are ripping off households.

He said this is the case because they offer low-cost internet and "bury the cost of the landline that increasingly homeowners don't actually want or need".

Mr Shapps went on to state that while true transparency in the cost of internet connections remains some way off, it is "good to see the government pushing in the right direction".

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