While 94% of UK homes and offices can now get superfast broadband, but more than half of us are failing to take it up. And according to Ofcom, it seems many of us are paying more than we need to.
Ofcom’s latest findings have identified four million households with old-style, basic broadband who have now passed their initial contract and who could switch to superfast for the same, or less than the money they currently pay.
In light of this, Ofcom has called for ISPs, mobile, landline and pay-TV providers, as well as the networks to tell their customers what best deals are currently available when their contract is coming to an end or an annual review if customers don’t initially take up a new deal.
Under the proposal, consumers would receive a notice between 10 and 40 days before the contract expired, giving clear pricing information and what other deals they offer. Ofcom said that mobile networks would have to include at least one SIM-only offer in the options for their customers.
Ofcom’s investigation found that dual-play consumers pay around 19% more once they are out of contract, and triple-play consumers paid 26% more than they needed to. With this in mind Ofcom has launched a review of broadband companies’ pricing practices.
As part of the review Ofcom said they will examine why some customers pay more than others and whether vulnerable customers need extra protection, ensuring they get a good deal.
We’re concerned that many loyal broadband customers aren’t getting the best deal they could. So, we’re reviewing broadband pricing practices and ensuring customers get clear, accurate information from their provider about the best deal they offer.- Sharon White: Chief Executive, Ofcom
Alongside the review Ofcom has launched a consumer campaign with a new website, BoostYourBroadband. The website uses Ofcom data to let people know what broadband they can get in their area, offering impartial advice.
The campaign has the support of consumer champion Gloria Hunniford OBE, the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and consumer watchdog Which?
Image: Tony Webster