Ofcom has launched a campaign to help people get better broadband deals, alongside other work aimed at protecting loyal customers.
Our research shows that while 94% of UK homes and offices could get superfast broadband, fewer than half have taken it up. At the same time, millions of customers could be paying more than they need to for their broadband, by failing to switch to faster speeds or a cheaper deal after their initial contract period has ended.
Boost Your Broadband
A major new consumer campaign, Boost Your Broadband, is aimed at changing this.
The campaign has a dedicated website that provides a range of information and guidance on how you could get the best broadband deal for your needs.
By following three simple steps, you can check your broadband options, make a decision about what package you need, and get tips on how to get the best deal for you.
- Enter your postcode to see what type of broadband – standard, superfast or ultrafast – is available at your address. This checker uses Ofcom’s own up-to-date information.
- Decide what package you need by seeing what kind of broadband user you are.
- Speak to your provider, using our guidance on what to ask for and how to get the best deal. Or, shop around to see what deals other providers offer.
The campaign aims to demystify the broadband market, especially for people who would like more clarity about speeds, prices and contracts.
We’ve partnered with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Which? on the campaign, alongside TV consumer champion Gloria Hunniford OBE. Gloria said: “Millions of people could boost their broadband in the run-up to Christmas, when lots of families really need the internet.
“So, I’m encouraging people to visit the new website, which offers independent advice on how to get the best deal and possibly a faster service from your broadband company, with a single phone call.”
Alongside the Boost Your Broadband campaign, we’re also announcing additional measures to help people get the best broadband deal.
Alerting customers to the best deal
Under new rules proposed by Ofcom today, broadband companies – as well as mobile, landline and pay-TV providers – must alert customers about the best deal or ‘tariff’ they can offer. They must do so when any discounted deal customers are on is coming to an end, and also every year for longstanding customers who have stayed with them. This will help to give customers the information they need to save money, which could include shopping around and changing provider.
Fair prices for loyal customers
Today we have also begun a review of broadband pricing.
We’re concerned that some customers are paying more than others for similar services – and even worse ones in some cases – particularly when introductory offers have ended.
For example, we estimate that customers who have a bundled landline and broadband service are paying an average of 19% more once their discounted deal has ended.
We will look at how companies change prices for customers over time, and which customers are most affected by this. Where we see consumers are being let down, we will act to protect them consumers.
Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “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 deals they offer.”
We are also reviewing how mobile companies charge their customers for handsets when these are bundled with airtime in a single contract. We expect to publish our findings on this next year.
Above press release via Ofcom
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He also has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.