- Out-of-contract prices have increased by 38% for copper and 19% for fibre broadband while in-contract prices have barely changed since 2011 – meaning those who don’t move once their contract ends are paying through the nose
- Line rental has increased by an inflation-busting 37% in five years, with broadband users now forking out £216 a year – £58 a year more than in 2011
- Broadband bill payers languishing on expired contracts are overpaying by £105 a year while fibre customers are missing out on average annual savings of £79
- With BT and Sky having just announced broadband price rises, uSwitch.com encourages anyone mid-contract to take advantage of introductory deals by using the 30-day loophole.
Broadband users whose contracts have now expired are unnecessarily forking out £1.5billion a year due to the massive difference between in-contract and out-of-contract pricing by UK broadband providers, according to new research from uSwitch.com. Consumers languishing on now-expired deals are paying, on average, £105 a year more than those who are still in contract. Meanwhile, fibre broadband customers who are out of contract are missing out on average annual savings of £79.
While in-contract prices have barely changed since 2011 – by just £1.12 for copper broadband and 54p for fibre – out-of-contract prices have increased by 38% for copper and 19% for fibre. This means those who don’t move to a new provider or sign up to a new deal once their contract ends are paying well over the odds.
Table 1: Changes to the combined cost of ADSL/copper and fibre broadband plus line rental between 2011 and 2016, both in and out of contract:
|ADSL October 2011||ADSL October 2016||Fibre October 2011||Fibre October 2016|
|Average in-contract price per month for broadband + line rental||£19.50||£20.62||£28.07||£28.61|
|Average out-of-contract price per month for broadband + line rental||£21.34||£29.41||£29.65||£35.16|
Meanwhile, line rental – which advertising guidelines now state must be included as part of the overall price when you buy a new broadband contract, yet is itemised separately on most bills – has increased by an inflation-busting 37% in five years. Based on the average price of line rental across the six biggest providers, broadband users are now forking out £216 a year for line rental, which is £58 a year more than in 2011. The priciest line rental is currently BT at £18.99 per month.
Table 2: Increases to monthly line rental between 2011 and 2016, across the six biggest providers:
|Broadband provider||Monthly line rental Oct 2011*||Monthly line rental Oct 2016*||£ increase||% increase|
*Prices correct for customers paying by monthly direct debit
Less than a month into 2017, two broadband providers announced significant price increases. Sky will up its line rental price by 9.1% from £17.40 per month to £18.99 per month from 1st March onwards, bringing it in line with BT’s charge, while BT has announced a raft of increases across its broadband, TV and BT Sport packages. Some of these will come into effect from 2nd April.
Ewan Taylor-Gibson, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, comments: “A combination of soaring line rental costs and out-of-contract pricing has really hammered broadband users over the past five years. The good news is you don’t have to put up with it.
“First, check your bill and make absolutely sure you’re still in contract, because anyone who isn’t is likely paying through the nose. Most broadband contracts are 12 or 18 months long, so if you’ve not moved in the past year, you might well find you’re out of contract and paying, on average, 38% more than everyone else.
“Second, play the system by taking advantage of a loophole, which gives you the right to cancel your contract and move to a new provider without penalty when prices are raised. The deal is you must let your existing provider know within 30 days from the date you’re notified of the increase. This includes price rises to both broadband packages and line rental. Doing this will give you early access to cheap introductory deals, typically reserved only for new customers.”
Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.