Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broadband Hitch: We're Tied Up by Line Rental Costs; Net Connection Deals Get Ever More Tasty -- but Home Phone Still a Must

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Broadband Hitch: We're Tied Up by Line Rental Costs; Net Connection Deals Get Ever More Tasty -- but Home Phone Still a Must

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Tobin

BROADBAND prices have crashed in the past five years -- falling 58% thanks to more competition and lower costs. But since line rental has shot up by some 50% over the same period, savings for households have been almost entirely wiped out.

So while broadband providers might advertise "rock-bottom" or "free" deals, the line rental that's a requisite of securing a connection has become a significant part of annual household bills.

It's particularly frustrating for customers who don't use their landline phone at all, but still see line-rental prices rise year after year due to their broadband use.

Customers are now paying similar prices to those in 2009, according to specialist comparison site broadbandchoices.co.uk. At that time, the average cost of a broadband connection was PS9.05 per month. This month, the cost of broadband alone is PS3.76, but line rental now costs an average of PS16.61 per month, up from just PS11.14 in 2009.

The 49% surge greatly outstrips inflation, which has been 16.4%, over the same time period.

BT's line rental charges have risen Continued on Page 46 Continued from Page 45 from PS11.25 a month in August 2009 to PS16.99 from this month; Sky's has jumped from PS11 to PS16.40 and TalkTalk's is up from PS11.25 to PS16.70.

Consumer charity Citizens Advice is asking for a crackdown on misleading claims in the broadband industry. Last month, it complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about four broadband campaigns from BT, Virgin, Sky and Talk Talk, warning that promises of free or cut-price broadband deals for a set period of time were confusing consumers into taking contracts that turn out to be more costly.

THE adverts, Citizens Advice said, appeared to offer deals ranging from free to PS5 a month, but the actual average price per month during the contracts ranged from PS19 to PS29. One contract, advertised only as "Free for 6 months", would have cost more than PS500 over 18 months once installation fees and line rental were factored in.

The myriad deals from the telecoms industry also make it difficult to compare prices between companies and establish which one is best. …

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