Millions of broadband customers will see their bills jump in the next few days, but if you’re out of contract you can vote with your feet and move to a cheaper deal.
Increases to broadband costs are being introduced by most suppliers on March 31 or April 1, and many households will see annual bills rise by an eye-watering 14.4%.
For example, BT, EE, Three and Plusnet are all hiking prices by up to 14.4% from March 31, while Vodafone and Talk Talk broadband customers will see their bills increase by an average of 14.4% and 14.2% respectively from April 1. Virgin Media and Shell Energy are raising annual broadband bills by an average of 13.8% and 13.5%, whilst bills for Sky broadband customers will increase by an average of 8%.
Liam Walker, digital expert at Comparethemarket.com said: “Some large broadband suppliers are set to introduce significant inflation-linked price hikes of more than 10%. Households that are not tied into contracts can offset any price increases by switching to take advantage of introductory broadband deals.”
As many as seven million households are thought to be out of broadband contracts, which means that they could potentially avoid price hikes by shopping around for a better deal.
Haggle down costs
When looking for a new broadband deal, it’s always worth haggling with your suppliers to see if you can bring costs down. Which? found that customers who took the time to haggle with their broadband and TV provider saved an average of £90 a year.
Stuart Jones, broadband spokesman at Go.Compare, said: “Broadband is the household bill that Brits are most happy to barter on, as prices aren’t always fixed. Many broadband providers expect you to negotiate with them, so if you are out of contract, it is definitely worth a go.”
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Remember when choosing a broadband deal to think carefully about what sort of speeds you’re likely to need, and whether you don’t mind having a cap on the amount of data you use, or you’d rather have no cap. Deals with no cap are known as ‘unlimited’ broadband. An unlimited deal is likely to suit you best if you regularly download and stream content, play online games frequently, or if you work from home.
Could you be eligible for a social tariff?
If you claim benefits such as Universal Credit or Pension Credit, you might be eligible for a discounted broadband and mobile deal, known as a ‘social tariff’. These work in exactly the same way as any other broadband and mobile deal but are just at a lower prices.
Most providers offer social tariffs, with deals starting from around £15 a month according to the telecoms regulator Ofcom, which is around
50% less than the average cost of broadband.
A spokesman for Which? said: “Social tariffs are special discounted deals that are available for certain low-income customers, and those who are eligible should be allowed to switch to one, even if it means changing provider. If you are not eligible for a social tariff, Ofcom has made it clear that broadband providers should do all they can to keep people connected.”