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ISPreview Site Status – Broadband ISP Listings Updated and Re-Done

Sunday, May 29th, 2016 (1:58 am) - Score 683
maintenance

Readers who visit our UK ISP Listings database may notice that we’ve changed the way in which fixed line broadband providers are organised and priced so as to include line rental into the cost. But the size of our database means that we’ve had to do things a bit differently to make it work.

As most people know ISPreview.co.uk is a bit different from the major broadband comparison sites, not least because we’re independent and don’t only list the largest 6-8 fixed line ISPs based on private commercial arrangements. Instead we list around 200 or so domestic focused providers for free, as well as including other categories like Satellite, Mobile Broadband and Fixed Wireless Access.

On top of that we also adopt a benchmark approach to pricing (i.e. giving visitors a sample of both the cheapest and a premium package from each fixed line ISP), which is necessary because otherwise the database would simply be too big for us to maintain by hand (we operate off a shoestring budget, akin to a not-for-profit).

One of the challenges with listing so many ISPs is that, with specific regards to line rental, they all do different things. Some providers only sell a true standalone broadband service (no need for separate line rental), others sell both a bundle of broadband + line rental (phone) and some just sell broadband or line rental as completely separate / optional products (i.e. you still need line rental but can have it from a different provider).

At times this can be very confusing, even for us, and over the past few years the market has also become increasingly pro-bundle in its design (i.e. broadband + line rental bundles have become the norm for all of the major providers). In addition, the advertising watchdog (ASA) has recently moved to nudge all bundled providers to include the cost of line rental into a single broadband price (details).

Going forward we’re expecting BTOpenreach to introduce their own broadband-only products (e.g. SOGEA), which won’t include a phone (voice) service. As such we need to change how we do our listings so that ISPs are easier to compare and reflect a total monthly price including line rental, while still leaving room for those providers that continue to offer line rental and broadband as separate products.

ISPreview’s OLD Fixed Line Categories

* Standard Broadband (up to 24Mbps)
Only displays the broadband price for ISPs, with line rental mentioned separately.

* Superfast Broadband (24Mbps+)
Only displays the broadband price for ISPs, with line rental mentioned separately.

* Broadband and Phone Bundles
Displays the cheapest unlimited broadband + line rental bundles via a single monthly fee.

ISPreview’s NEW Fixed Line Categories

* Standard Broadband (up to 24Mbps)
Displays the broadband and standard line rental charge as a single monthly price for any ISPs that offer both services, either separately or as a bundle.

* Superfast Broadband (24Mbps+)
Displays the broadband and standard line rental charge as a single monthly price for any ISPs that offer both services, either separately or as a bundle.

* Optional Broadband (up to 24Mbps and 24Mbps+)
Displays just the cheapest broadband price for ISPs where line rental, which is still technically required for the service to work, doesn’t strictly have to be taken from the same provider (this is mostly only relevant for BT-based ISPs).

The outcome means that ISPs which only do bundles (e.g. Sky Broadband, BT) or where you can purchase a true standalone broadband service (e.g. B4RN, Gigaclear), will both appear under the main ‘Standard’ and ‘Superfast’ categories and should be easier to compare via a single monthly price.

Elsewhere providers like AAISP, which offer both broadband and line rental as separate products, will appear in all three categories, although their listing in the ‘Optional’ category will only show the broadband price excluding line rental. Similarly any ISPs on BT’s network that only offer broadband and have no line rental product at all will also show under ‘Optional’.

Aside from that we’ve also conducted our usual update sweep, which is performed every few months to ensure that all our prices and information is up-to-date. This is because many smaller ISPs don’t inform us of their product changes and so we have to keep checking them manually.

On top of that we’ve made some layout changes and also still have a few extra details left to add into the new individual ISP details pages, which will be completed in due course. But I’m pleased to say that we are one of the first comparison sites to adopt the single pricing approach (ignoring how we already did it on our old bundle category), although we expect the market to follow in time for the ASA’s new rules to be enforced from 31st October 2016.

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