Millions of households are facing higher broadband bills, courtesy of annual price rises introduced by several of the UK’s major providers.
Some providers apply price rises on an ad hoc basis – Virgin Media is one example, it recently announced the price of many of its deals would rise by £4.70 a month.
However several other providers – including BT and TalkTalk, two of the UK’s biggest – are also increasing their prices. But unlike the price rises announced by other providers, these are baked into consumer contracts meaning customers have no choice but to pay them – and they happen even year.
Discover which broadband providers we recommend – read our round-up of the best and worst broadband providers for 2022.
Broadband providers and price hikes
Several of the UK’s big broadband providers have introduced annual price rises – in most cases they base them around the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation as published in January – that CPI was published today and is 5.4%.
However, providers don’t stop at the rate of inflation, sneakily adding an additional percentage – this is either 3.7% or 3.9% depending on the provider. BT and its subsidiaries all add 3.9% to the CPI, as does Vodafone. TalkTalk adds 3.7%.
Meanwhile KCOM, a provider that offers fibre broadband services in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, has cancelled its contractual price rise for this year saying it didn’t want to add to the burden of rising costs that consumers already face in 2022.
Broadband providers’ annual price rises 2022
- BT: 9.3% (from 31 March)
- EE Broadband: 9.3% (from 31 March)
- John Lewis Broadband: 9.3% (from 1 March)
- Plusnet: 9.3% (from 1 March)
- TalkTalk: 9.1% (from 1 April)
- Vodafone: 9.3% (from 1 April)
What can I do about broadband price rises?
Ofcom rules state that telecoms providers must offer their customers the right to exit their contract penalty free is they surprise them with price rises that are greater than inflation.
But because these annual price rises are part of your contract, they don’t qualify under these rules – meaning you have no choice but to pay the new higher price, or to pay an exit fee to terminate your contract.
It means that if you sign up to an 18 or 24 month contract with any of these providers, you can’t only pay attention to the amount that’s being advertised. Depending on the price of your deal, a annual 9% price rise could see you paying an extra £20-40 in the first year and £30-80 in the second.
Also keep in mind that the actual increase will differ depending on that year’s CPI as announced in January. Last year’s was relatively low (1.3%), while this year’s is 5.4% – the highest since it was first measured 25 years ago.
Out of contract broadband customers
If you’re out of contract, you’re free to shop around to find a better deal. In many cases you’ll find that you could save money, and this could even be the case if you upgrade from standard broadband to fibre.
Check the T&Cs of any new contract carefully so you’re aware of the provider’s policy on future price rises, and check our broadband deals to see which packages we recommend.
Still on a standard broadband contract? Read more about the benefits of fibre broadband, to find out how you could enjoy faster speeds, greater reliability, and cheaper costs.
Which providers fix their prices?
Zen Internet offers a lifetime price guarantee – if you take out a 12, 18 or 24 month contract, it promises not to increase your tariff as long as you stay on the same deal, even if you move house (assuming the deal is available at your new location).
Meanwhile Sky and its subsidiary Now Broadband both have clauses in their contract allowing for price rises. Sky announced it was increasing some prices in February 2021 but hasn’t yet announced price rises for 2022. However neither it nor Now Broadband apply annual increases across all of their deals.
Similarly, Virgin Media does increase prices on occasion – it is increasing the prices of most of its deals in March. But because these price rises aren’t included in contracts, Virgin Media customers have the power to haggle or switch once they’ve been notified of any above-inflation increase.
How to find the best broadband deal
Despite annual price rises now being something to consider with certain providers, you’re still likely to be better off in a fixed term contract than staying out of contract on an old deal.
Providers can increase the price of out of contract customers – plus our analysis has shown that out of contract customers can pay as much as 85% more than those who are in contract.
Concerned about the process of switching? In most cases it’s straightforward and you’ll only have to contact your new provider. Learn more in our guide on how to switch broadband provider.