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UPDATE UK ISP BT Unveil Broadband, TV and Phone Price Hikes for 2016

Friday, April 29th, 2016 (7:44 am) - Score 2,753

The retail division of BT has, in an earlier than expected move, today unveiled a raft of new inflation busting price hikes (increases range from +5.6% to +20%) for their consumer phone, TV and broadband services that will come into force from 3rd July 2016. Line rental is now £18.99 a month.

The provider usually announces their annual changes a little later than this. For example, back in 2015 BT announced them in July and introduced them for September, then in 2014 they unveiled them in August and introduced the rises from December (note: new subscribers usually get hit with them much sooner). Suffice to say that it’s been years since they jumped ahead like this.

On top of that it’s worth pointing out that annual inflation, despite once being used as an excuse for such large increases, will have had little impact this year with the CPI 12-month rate (the amount prices change over a year) between March 2015 and March 2016 standing at just 0.5% and RPI pipping to 1.6%.

However BT also needs to account for the costs of rapidly rising broadband data use, bringing customer support back to the UK, expensive premium TV rights deals (Sport etc.), future investment in other areas (4K TV services etc.) and the introduction of new Government policy / requirements, which need to be balanced somewhere.

The Changes

As usual the underlying wholesale cost of copper line rental has tended to hold fairly steady at below £10 +vat per month and it’s been that way for a long time, although ISPs often shift some of their other costs on to line rental and naturally it’s the one that affects the most subscribers.

History of BT Phone Line Rental Rises
2011 = £13.90
2012 = £14.60
2013 = £15.45
2014 = £15.99
2015 (Dec 2014) = £16.99
2016 (September 2015) = £17.99
2016/17 (July 2016) = £18.99

Similarly BT’s pre-paid Line Rental Saver service (i.e. pay 12 months line rental in advance in order to get a small discount) will also increase from £194.28 to £205.08 per year, which equates to a monthly equivalent price of £17.09. However the cost of the BT Basic social line rental tariff for those on low incomes will remain at £5.10 per month.

Unfortunately some of the increases elsewhere are even more aggressive. For example, the standard broadband package price jumps by over 15% from £13 to £15 per month, with their superfast “fibreBTInfinity (FTTC) options also seeing increases of between +£1 and +£3 per month extra (this reflects the prices after any promotional discounts).

Anybody wanting the Anytime UK Calls add-on will also find themselves paying £8.50 a month instead of the current £7.95 and the premium BT Sport Pack TV add-on will see a massive +20% jump from £5 per month to £6 per month.

Customers may also like to note that the Pence Per Minute (PPM) price for calls to UK landlines and 0870 numbers is also increasing from 10.24p to 11p and land-line call set-up charges are similarly long jumping from 17.07p to 19p. Some other call charges may also rise, but BT haven’t yet sent us a complete summary and so we can’t verify.

John Petter, BT Consumer CEO, said:

“We realise that customers never welcome price rises, but we have again ensured that low-income customers avoid increases. And we continue to highlight money-saving options for all customers. We have also done our best to ensure that all of our customers will get more value if their price is going up, and we know they want faster speeds and better online security from their broadband.

But we know that customers also want great service and to be protected from nuisance calls. That’s why we have invested to be able to promise that we’ll answer 80% of our customers’ calls in the UK by the end of this year.

And we will also be launching a comprehensive defence against nuisance calls that will divert up to 25 million unwanted calls a week before they ever bother BT customers.”

As usual BT’s rises tend to trigger most of the markets other major broadband and phone providers to follow suit, albeit gradually over the next few months. At the same time Ofcom’s regulation against mid-contract price hikes allows customers to exit their existing contract without penalty after receiving the price notification letter.


Incidentally BT has also reduced the price of their unlimited broadband and phone bundles today by a few pounds, although this is a promotional offer (not standard pricing) and the above changes aren’t yet being reflected on their website (that usually follows a little later).


After a bit of checking we can now confirm that BT have moved to soften the blow by making a number of changes, with the key ones being as follows.

* Existing BTInfinity 1 (FTTC) customers (all 1 million+ of them) with a download speed of up to 38Mbps will now be offered a “free speed boost” to 52Mbps.

* More than a million broadband customers “will each get a free upgrade to Unlimited usage or a higher allowance” (worth between £43 and £108 a year), although BT don’t spell out precisely which packages this applies too.

* All broadband customers will get free BT Net Protect security software, which was previously only “free” on their more expensive packages.

This year BT are also promising to fix line faults faster for all of their voice and broadband customers by “upgrading them to a higher level of service, which means we will send an engineer 24 hours faster than before, if a home visit is needed“.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
41 Responses
  1. Captain Cretin says:

    Boy, am I glad I dont use BT; my ISP havent upped my line rental or call charges since I joined several years ago.

    1. Cyber says:

      Hi, Captain Cretin. Who is your ISP? I’m looking for a new ISP. Thanks.

    2. GNewton says:

      What do you expect from one of the worst rated companies in the UK?

    3. Captain Cretin says:


  2. Balb0wa says:

    I wouldnt mind increases as long as i could get a decent speed download!! im on fttc and get 16mb , on 4G i can get 35mb , i would love the new 52 mb (im paying the same price!!!), but the rubbish aluminium cable that BT Openreach wont replace is limiting me!

    ROLL ON G FAST!!!!!!!!!!! i wont hold my breath though.

    1. Captain Cretin says:

      Try ordering a new line and see if that fixes it – or is the alu not just from tour house to the cabinet??

    2. Balb0wa says:

      The line is part ally part copper , ive had openreach look at it before. Most of it is underground, and too costly to look at.

      I tried the new line trick, all they do is connect the other 2 pairs from the same line. Hence a new line is not a new line!

  3. Ignition says:

    Reflects higher data usage, lower call revenue and probably some element of recovering content rights costs.

    Predictable. Customers using 50% a year more while Consumer pay the same per Mb/s for capacity will do this.

  4. Balb0wa says:

    The line rental increases are terrible, up up and up !!! we are paying for the premier league football rights. Everyone knows it.

    1. Lee says:

      No one has a gun to your head forcing you to stay with BT.

    2. Balb0wa says:

      No but the price rises will filter accross to any other provider!

    3. Captain Cretin says:

      They shouldnt though, other ISPs pay the wholesale price for the line rental, which has actually DROPPED in recent years; BT Retail are making a HUGE profit out of line rental alone, as the wholesale price is well under £10 per month.

    4. bubblegun says:

      Aren’t OFCOM looking into these “line rental” price hikes each year when they regulate this portion of costs?

    5. Al says:

      Lee you are aware that not all exchanges have been unbundled, some have no choice but to stay with BT.

  5. Bob2002 says:

    Just left BT, got a large cashback and discount from Plusnet who I rejoined, if Plusnet follow BT’s lead or raise prices slightly later I’ll be in the position to switch ISP’s again and get another significant cashback – thing is I actually like Plusnet because I get to speak to UK customer service(or people from Yorkshire which is close enough 😉 ) at mass market prices, I may stay for the reduced hassle.

    1. Matthew McLaren says:

      Well done for getting a good offer and the cashback, you may well of done what BT wanted you to though 🙁

      Plusnet is one of if not the cheapest in the market whe it comes to comparing line rental costs, it seems to be one of the few who sit behind on raking in profits from line rental but that may well be because they don’t need too.

      Plusnet is still a subsidarie of BT Group, so regardless, the money always ends up in the same pot eventually.

    2. Balb0wa says:

      Im thinking of doing the same for plusnet, but they have a 18 month contract now ,Unlimited Fibre free for 6 months on an 18 month contract when taken with line rental.

      But i suppose the £70.70 top cashback is good, when you get it paid out in tesco clubcard points, Merlin annual pass time 🙂

    3. bubblegun says:

      What is the point of 12 month contracts with any of the cheaper providers who use Openreach???

      By this I do mean Sky, BT/Plusnet, TalkTalk, EE and a few others…If customers can just switch to the next cheapest provider every few months.

  6. Matthew McLaren says:

    It’s hard to justify paying extra for line rental when I feel the ‘line’ is substandard… Tell you what BT, let me source and run my own cable and I’ll pay you duct rental!

    I do feel this is unfair to telephone only customers though… my grandmother has been priced out of using her home telephone, she now uses her mobile, she says it the best move she’s made.

    I wonder how price increases will work for SOGEA… there ‘shouldn’t’ be line rental right!

    I bet Broadband pricing won’t increase though, they need to stay competitve for there advertising rubbish, and what happen to the Ofcom/ASA reuqirement of pricing including line rental in all adveetising now?

    1. Ignition says:

      ‘I bet Broadband pricing won’t increase though, they need to stay competitve for there advertising rubbish’

      From the article:

      ‘Unfortunately some of the increases elsewhere are even more aggressive. For example, the standard broadband package price jumps by over 15% from £13 to £15 per month, with their superfast “fibre” BTInfinity (FTTC) options also seeing increases of between +£1 and +£3 per month extra (this reflects the prices after any promotional discounts).’

      From TBB:

      ‘Standard price for Unlimited ADSL2+ will be £20/month
      Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 1 will be £26/month
      Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 2 will be £32.50/month
      Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 3 will be £45/month
      Standard price for Unlimited Infinity 4 will be £52/month’

    2. Matthew McLaren says:

      Well, I stand corrected…

      I still feel this won’t affect new customers though… they’ll keep it looking attractive, just those without an offer who will get stung as always.

      The other question is what are they going to do to make this increase seem worthwhile…. a new Home Hub wouldn’t be too much to ask for.

      I suppose its that time of year again where everyone get’s backed into a conrner by there Broadband supplier and either puts up and shuts up or renegotiates and tie them selves in for a bit longer…

      Switching isn’t much of an option when it comes to homes like mine stuck under the monopoly…

      Anyway screw it, I’m a stop moaning, it is what it is, I’ll be one of those who puts up and shuts up..

  7. Balb0wa says:

    If it continues like this, the price rises for line rental, then a time will come when people will move over to 4G and future mobile broadband, its pretty close now.

    Maybe not for super heavy down loaders , but people who dont and people who are getting super slow speeds yet paying full price, the time is near.

    1. Matthew McLaren says:

      I too think 4G will step up into a fixed service market, I also think BT may be one of the major players in that market but we shall see…

      Based on what my iPhone 5S see’s from EE, I would be very happy with that.

    2. sentup.custard says:

      As one of the low users (internet between 15GB and 20GB a month, and if I make three phone calls a month I’ve had a busy time), yes, Balb0wa, I ditched the landline a year and a half ago.
      I’m about 100 yards from a 4G mast, in a first floor flat, direct line of sight from the front window – speeds are excellent. In particular the upload speed (more important to me than download, because half my time is spent updating my website) is brilliant, better than I would get on 80/20 FTTC.
      For the benefit of friends and family who use BT’s “free calls” and pay an arm and a leg to call a mobile number, I rent a landline number from a company who redirect the calls to my mobile, and even with that extravagance the overall cost is still cheaper than it would be paying for line rental and FTTC with any of the decent quality providers who I would consider using.

    3. Balb0wa says:

      When i want to upload pictures or videos i tether from my mobile (4G) i get about 15mb upload, on bt fibre fttc its 768k !! i used to get 1.1mb but it dropped when my upload snr jumped to 16db from 6db.

      They arent bothered about people with long lines or slow speeds, its just those who are close to cabinets, im about 1,000 metres away.

      Its new contract time next week, im ditching bt sport, maybe ditching BT , ill be better off with a new customer offer and cashback from plusnet, i know, part of the BT group….

    4. Chris says:

      Quit your whinging. You get 16Mb. I get 3Mb and FTTC ain’t coming to my house any time soon if at all. As for 4G, no chance for me, I can just manage a 2G signal if the wind is blowing in the right direction.

  8. finaldest says:

    Yet more price increases from the monopoly for an ever deteriorating service. The rest will soon follow suit so switching provides is a waste of time. I guess the sports rights need to be paid for somehow. How about investing in the network that is falling to pieces!!!!

    I signed up to FTTC in Jan this year with a speed estimate of 67-80.
    Actual speed was 55 (boosting to 62 with g.inp). It’s now down to 52 after only 4 months and continuing to deteriorate yet I am only 100m or so from the cab. I am currently spending £50 a month for this as it is.

    I guess its time to re-consider Virgin Media or just dump BB completely and go 4G.

    1. JAH says:

      My Plusnet FTTC started off at an excellent 74mbps several months ago. It’s now down to 56mbps. Pings are very high too. Plusnet won’t do anything about it because it’s ‘within their expected range’. I recognise that I still have great speeds compared to many people but it’s just not right that we should have to accept such degradation as ‘normal’.

    2. Captain Cretin says:

      I suspect PN of capping, I have suspected this for many years, since ADSL days when I got 4.5Mb on another ISP, and my mother a few hundred meters up the same road got 2.2Mb; with the excuse from PN that the cabinet was over-subscribed.

      Come the Centry21 upgrade and my line jumped to 5.5Mb, and hers stayed at 2.2Mb.

      Come fibre, and half the street no longer using ADSL and she now gets – 2.2Mb.

      BTW, my Aquiss fibre went in a few years back and I got a shade under 78Mbps; cue a change from the (deceased) BT white box a few months back and I am getting 79.997Mbps – capped by BT as the router says the line can handle 101.84Mbps* at the current sync rate.
      (*Data rate – not sync rate – before anyone starts).

    3. TheFacts says:

      @finaldest. If VM is an option for you how can BT be a monopoly?

    4. fastman says:

      To be clear you signed up to a > 40 M/bps product which you have !!!!

    5. JAH says:

      Fastman, to be clear, I still don’t have to like it.

  9. Dave says:

    What!!! Why am I paying for another line rental increase.. I cant even get broadband!
    (I wish i could get a mobile signal)

  10. Darren says:

    Ofcom need to put an end to mid contract price rises and cap line rental charges at 10% above cost.

    Don’t promise what you can’t deliver and stop overcharging us via the back door.

    1. bubblegun says:

      They have allowed people to leave their provider due to mid-contract price rises for a few years (without penalty) though, which is surely the next best thing?

  11. Jazzy says:

    I renegotiate mine every year with Sky. Last year I got it for 9,99 a month, this years its 7,40 a month with a £10 discount applied each month for a service I never ever use plus a £10 discount off my Fibre Pro to £20. I am more than happy

    Never ever regretted leaving BT

    1. Ignition says:

      Wow Sky are desperate to retain customers.

      Been losing them to TalkTalk at the low end, Plusnet in the middle. No idea about the higher end on Pro but going by this looks like are struggling to keep them too.

    2. bubblegun says:

      Sky’s problem is they won so many over with amazingly cheap deals in previous years that when the prices go to normal the customers don’t normally get anything like as good a deal.

      The deal mentioned aove is often sent to people who have previously had a discussion about going to another peovider. They aren’t allowed to contact you to offer a better deal during a 3rd party cease unless you call them about it.

  12. Penmore says:

    I switched to VOIP for my calls in early 2015 (having been back at BT). I don’t have a call package on my copper wires and only pay £10/mth rental and £8/mth for anytime call package. Don’t know why you all stick with BT for line rental.

  13. bob says:

    In my view BT are exploiting their near monopoly position with the local loop. Someone calculated that the line rental has increased by almost 80% in 10 years. Inflation over that same period has been less than 15 a year

    I think OFCOM should force BT to separate Openreach from the main BT Group by making it a wholly owned subsidiary that way you at least get clarity of costs

    It does I suppose make it more viable fort competitors to move in but overlaying a new local loop where BT already have almost a 100% of the market share is not a very attractive option, Fair access to the BT local loop seems to be the way forward. BT has so far been pretty near a 100% successful in keeping completion out of the local loop

    1. FibreFred says:

      BT Openreach line rental hasn’t increased, you do realise that don’t you?

      How can BT have almost 100% of the local loop market share when Virgin are present in 60% and rising?

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