With superfast broadband now available to 91% of premises in the UK and the internet a key part of daily life for many people, how much we pay for broadband services, and how those charges are calculated, is increasingly important for both businesses and individuals.
But broadband pricing can be confusing. In May 2018, an Ofcom research document on pricing trends found, amongst other things, that “many people could upgrade their broadband at no extra cost”, that “more choice can mean more complexity for consumers”, and that “customers outside their minimum contract term can end up paying more”.
So has anything happened to make broadband pricing more transparent since this government came to power?
In July 2017, Ofcom began conducting a call for inputs, or a consultation:
“to help us better understand why some consumers may face difficulties engaging in communications markets; and to help us identify, develop and implement solutions that help consumers to engage.”
That came to an end on 15 September 2017 and Ofcom said they were taking the responses into account.
In December 2018, Ofcom announced a range of measures aimed at helping broadband customers get a better deal. They cover three main areas:
- Clearer information for customers
- Reviewing broadband prices
- Consumer campaign offering advice on finding the best deal
Alongside that announcement, a further consultation was launched looking at “the scale of any harm resulting from pricing practices in the fixed broadband market”. That consultation closes on 1 February 2019.
There is good evidence that this policy is ‘in progress’. We’ll move it to ‘done’ if we see official regulatory or legislative changes brought in which result in greater pricing transparency. Follow this policy for updates.