A number of major UK internet service providers (ISPs) have announced above-inflation broadband price rises for 2021.
Virgin Media says an average customer will face a 4% rise this year – announcing that the increase is part of a plan to invest £1 billion in its network infrastructure.
BT, EE and Plusnet have also amended their terms of service, and are expected to publish above-inflation price rises over 4% shortly. Sky have already raised prices, with some customers seeing increases of up to 10%.
Ofcom figures suggest market rates for broadband have remained broadly consistent over the course of the last decade prior to 2020 – driven in part by more of the UK being brought on-stream under Openreach’s superfast fibre roll-out.
Although network investment is likely to be welcomed, many customers will no doubt suspect ISPs are raising profits at a time that the UK is particularly dependent on home use of connectivity.
Where investment also supports fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) rollouts, the increase may also represent a regressive step – charging customers in less well-connected parts of the country with slower broadband to fund upgrades in already better-connected areas.
Approximately 41% of broadband customers are not in contract, and the best deals are gained by those who look for options rather than renewing automatically. New Ofcom rules mean that price rises from an ISP allow escape from contract terms, giving customers other options.
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