Millions of Brits already struggling with the rising cost of living are going to have to pay more for their broadband in the coming months.
The top providers, including BT and Virgin Media, have confirmed that price rises are on the way.
BT will increase prices by 9.3 per cent, which works out to an average annual increase of £45.33.
Virgin Media announced earlier in January that it will put prices up by an average of £4.70 a month, working out to an annual increase of £56.40. And Vodafone will increase bills by 9.3 per cent – an average yearly increase of £31.28.
Meanwhile, Plusnet and TalkTalk will increase bills by 9.3 per cent and 9.1 per cent respectively.
There’s been no word on whether Sky is set to hike prices, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise.
Every year these companies raise their ‘in contract’ prices in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation, which recently hit a thirty-year-high of 5.4 per cent. They then add up to 3.9 per cent on top of that and pass the rise on to customers.
Speaking about the upcoming price rise, BT Managing Director of Consumer Customer Services Nick Lane told broadband-focused blog ISPreview: ‘Price rises are never popular, but are sometimes a necessary part of business, if we’re to keep up with the rising costs we face and ensure we can continue to deliver a brilliant network experience as customers usage of data grows month on month.
‘We’ve thought long and hard about how we make sure that any pricing changes are predictable, clear, and not unfairly focussed on our existing customers, but reflected in our new prices too.’
BT says it will begin contacting customers soon with the price rise set to kick in on March 31, 2022.
Lane added: ‘These changes won’t be for all our customers, however. For our financially vulnerable customers on BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver and BT Basic, we will be leaving their prices as they are.’
Hyperoptic, a fibre broadband provider based in London quizzed over 2,000 customers on the price rises and found many were unaware of what was coming.
The company said that 60 per cent of affected customers – extrapolated outward to nine million affected people across the country – didn’t know about the upcoming price rises.
‘Given the increase in the cost of living, any price rise is hitting already squeezed homes. With rising living costs, our industry could have bucked the trend and helped consumers,’ commented Hyperoptic managing director, Charles Davies.
‘Most costs in fixed broadband come from building the network. Once built, the cost of maintaining the infrastructure is much lower. That means our industry can mitigate the impact of inflation, much more so than other industries. It is then disappointing to see so many operators choosing to raise prices at this time.’
If you cannot afford the rise you should speak to your provider, as companies have been encouraged to make financial allowances during the pandemic.