It’s April, so your broadband just got more expensive…

Rising broadband costs are affecting millions of households. Here’s how to fight back

Monday, 15 April, 2024

The first of April is traditionally a time of practical jokes and officially sanctioned fake news.

Unfortunately, there was nothing funny (or fake) about the raft of broadband price hikes introduced by many of the UK’s biggest ISPs last Monday.

Increases of almost nine per cent have been levied, despite inflation now running at just 3.4 per cent.

That’s because Consumer Price Index or Retail Prices Index inflation (the two rates ISPs use to peg their costs) were much higher in previous months.

That’s why these price increases appear to be inflation-busting, though they’ll be no less painful – especially after price hikes of almost 15 per cent in 2023.

In terms of this year’s cost increases, Virgin Media have added 8.8 per cent onto customer bills.

BT’s figure of 7.9 per cent isn’t much better, while Sky has imposed a 6.7 per cent surcharge.

A BT customer originally paying £80 per month will now find themselves shelling out an extra £75 per year– effectively a thirteenth payment for the same 12-month contract.

If rising broadband costs are placing further strain on your household finances, there are ways to mitigate the prospect of higher bills…

Tackling rising broadband costs

1. Check your contract.

Price increases apply even if you’re on a fixed tariff or partway through a contract. However, if you’re out of contract, you’re free to find better deals elsewhere.

An estimated 7.4 million consumers are free to transfer their custom elsewhere, having completed any fixed-price introductory deals.

Use our postcode search tool to identify the ISPs active in your locality, investigating whether better deals are available.

2. Negotiate a new deal.

If your contract is approaching its end (or has already finished), you’re in a strong position to negotiate a new deal.

Some ISPs seem indifferent to customer churn, whereas others will fight to retain loyal bill-payers in today’s fiercely competitive broadband sector.

Cost reduction tips include moving off rolling no-contract agreements, entering into a longer contract, or reducing the package you’re signed up to…

3. Jettison unnecessary features.

Take a look at your current contract and consider if you’re overpaying for broadband. Is the line speed the minimum you need? Are you making full use of TV packages or bundled SIM cards?

Many of us sign up to services we then fail to fully capitalise on, especially if we’ve been upsold triple-play or quad-play packages by smooth-tongued sales executives.

Some people are unwittingly duplicating monthly payments, such as signing up to combined streaming bundles even if they’re already paying for Netflix out of a separate account.

4. Reduce broadband line speeds.

Building on the last point, consider whether you’re paying for unnecessarily fast connectivity.

A 500Mbps connection might sound great, but if you’re only using it to send emails and watch ITVX, you’re wasting hundreds of pounds a year on superfluous bandwidth.

This is one of the easiest ways to counteract rising broadband costs. We’ve previously outlined the speeds required to perform key activities like gaming and working at home.

5. Ask your ISP to help.

ISPs are acutely aware of today’s cost-of-living pressures, while their contact centres are staffed by working professionals who also recognise the challenges of balancing the books.

Call up and explain that price rises are placing undue strain on your household finances. Be polite and friendly when asking what (if anything) they can do to lower your direct debit.

A combination of the above factors might be required. However, many ISPs will be happy to reduce monthly costs in exchange for reductions in service or a longer broadband contract.