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Broadband prices penalise loyal customers

Dave Millett

Research from the Citizens Advice Bureau that Broadband prices penalise loyal customers. With comment from Dave Millett of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox.

This is typical of the general misleading advertising that surrounds the broadband market: Suppliers are allowed to claim speeds in their marketing that just 10 percent of their customer get People have the impression that fibre broadband is superfast when it still has a copper end – we have seen speeds as slow as 3.5 mbps on fibre broadband rather than the ‘up to 80 mbps’ advertised. These low start cost programmes are clearly misleading – we think any advertising should clearly show the total cost of the service over the contract length.  E.g. £500 over 24 months and include the cost of the phone line in a clear readable font to allow easier comparison. Suppliers should also highlight if the router supplied is locked to that provider.

This research ties in with lack of prominence that providers give to price rises in their telecoms services, and the fact that Ofcom allows customer to cancel contracts if any unplanned price rises are made providing they give 30 days notification. We think any price rise should be notified by a separate letter or email. Also the protection is limited to companies with less than 10 employees – that should be higher. Other information such as contention ratios (the number of people sharing the service) should be more prominent so people can get a view on the quality of the cheapest services.

Unfortunately this is all part of the race to the bottom in the broadband market where it is being sold purely on price and not on quality.  This, in turn, leads to security issues, including hackable routers etc. The price is all customers can compare the service on, they don’t have access or the information to look at the broader issues. All advertisers could be made to carry the latest Ofcom stats on complaints per 100,000 users.  For example, Plusnet were bottom of last stats (with the most complaints).