Broadband customers rejoice - the cost of the average broadband package has fallen by an impressive 58% in the last five years, giving you the same service (and in some cases even better) at less than half the cost! But, unfortunately, all is not as it seems. Broadband prices may have fallen, but line rental costs have increased at pretty much the same rate, so you're effectively no better off than you were a few years ago.
According to research from broadbandchoices.co.uk, the typical cost of a broadband connection now stands at just £3.76, a drop of 58% from 2009 when it would have set you back £9.05 per month. However, despite these plummeting costs, line rental prices have steadily risen, now standing at £16.61 per month - up from £11.14 in 2009.
This marks an increase of 49%, well above inflation of 16.39% over the same period, and means customers are paying vastly similar prices to those in 2009. This has understandably led to some frustration among customers - most people are unable to benefit from the drop in broadband prices thanks to continuingly rising line rental costs, at a time when many don't even use their landline phone.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices, commented: "Broadband providers have fought tooth and nail for customers in recent years, resulting in much cheaper broadband packages with all sorts of perks and extras, so it is a shame to see line rental dragging prices back to 2009 levels.
"Essentially, households are paying almost £200 a year for something they don't want - just so they can get something they do want. Our own research has shown that sentiment towards line rental charges is at an all-time low, with 37% of households admitting they would get rid of their landline altogether if they could, and one in 10 admitting they don't even have their home phone plugged in."
But, not only are people fed up with paying for something they don't even want, many are also struggling to determine what it is they're actually paying for. Broadband services are increasingly offered as part of an entertainment bundle that can include TV packages as well as phone and broadband, and sometimes even mobile phone costs are added into the mix.
This can further heighten the frustration as customers struggle to work out how much they're paying for each service, and with more of these packages set to be launched in the next year, it could become even more confusing. Broadbandchoices is therefore calling on the industry to be more transparent when it comes to their pricing, allowing customers to clearly see what they're paying for so they can compare packages accordingly.
"Line rental is now a significant household bill so it is high time that pricing was made more transparent," added Dominic. "As long as line rental is compulsory for the delivery of a fixed line broadband connection, the price of line rental and the broadband package itself should be combined to give a clearer picture to customers of the total cost they will pay over the duration of their contract.
"We'd like to see the entire market working together collectively to make a combined pricing structure the industry standard, as it is unlikely that one provider will make the change before everyone else for fear of looking like the expensive option."
Hopefully, the industry will get on board and start changing their pricing structures - or at the very least, will change how they communicate their prices to customers to improve transparency. Until that time, however, just what can you do to ensure you're getting the best deal?
Well, we've put together a handy guide on how you can cut your broadband costs down to size, but perhaps the most important thing you can do is compare the options. Take a proper look at what each broadband package can offer, considering price as well as making sure you're actually going to use the services offered, and hopefully, you'll be left with the ideal package to meet the needs of your household - without spending over the odds in the process.
Compare broadband, phone & TV deals in your area
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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