Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator, is launching an investigation into the mid-contract price increases by major broadband providers, following their recent announcements of even more rate hikes.
The investigation aims to address the lack of clarity and certainty around what customers will pay and could potentially provide assistance to those struggling with the cost of living crisis.
Although contracts typically last for 18 or 24 months, companies such as BT, Sky, and Virgin Media O2 include causes permitting them to increase monthly bills in line with inflation.
Ofcom’s research reveals that a third of UK broadband customers are unaware of this clause in their contracts.
The cost of broadband in the UK ranges from £22.99 to £55 per month. When the next round of price hikes hits this April, UK broadband customers can expect to pay an extra £3.31-£7.92 for their internet per month, adding £39.72 to £95.04 to their annual bill.
Virgin Media O2 and BT customers could see the biggest rises; their bills are expected to increase by 13.8% and 14.4%, respectively. Sky customers may end up paying 8.1% per month after April.
Cristina Luna-Esteban, the director of telecoms consumer protection at Ofcom, believes big-name providers are making it difficult for customers to understand the extent of price increases.
The Ofcom review will focus on what customers know when they sign up for new broadband contracts and how providers communicate price rise clauses.
“We’re taking a thorough look at these types of contract terms to fully understand the extent to which customers truly know what they’re signing up to and whether tougher protections are needed,” said Cristina Luna-Esteban. “Customers need certainty and clarity about what they will pay over the course of their contract.”
In the meantime, Ofcom encourages customers out of contract to consider haggling with their current provider for a cheaper deal or switching providers.
Those looking to switch will be interested in a broadband firm that never raises customer bills mid-contract, just like 6G Internet.
Our no mid-contract price rise guarantee means our customers will never pay more than they signed up for.