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Broadband providers must now offer all-inclusive pricing following changes brought in by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

A recent study carried out by the regulator with Ofcom found that consumers often struggled to calculate the cost of a contract when different costs such as broadband and line rental charges were presented separately.

Figures also revealed that people regularly got confused if certain figures were displayed more prominently than others.

As a result, the ASA has implemented a new system from today (October 31st) that means suppliers must show upfront and monthly costs with no separation of line rental prices.

Providers must also give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing, as well as upfront costs such as delivery, activation and installation fees.

The ASA believes the changes will force providers to be clearer on pricing in their promotional material, as well as stop people feeling misled by broadband adverts.

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA, commented: "Broadband is a service we all take for granted. That’s why some people can get frustrated when they sign up to a package after seeing an ad, only to find their bills are higher than expected.

"The effect should be a real positive difference in how consumers understand and engage with ads for broadband services."

Matt Hancock, the Digital and Culture Minister, added that making broadband providers show all-inclusive, upfront prices in their advertisements will help consumers "make an informed choice when deciding on a service".

In the ASA and Ofcom survey published in May this year, just 23 per cent of respondents were able to correctly identify the total monthly cost after the initial viewing of an advert.

Meanwhile, 22 per cent were still unable to work out the total monthly cost even after viewing an ad for a second time.

Furthermore, some 81 per cent of participants could not correctly calculate the total cost of a broadband contract after being asked to do so.

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