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UK ISP BT Unveil Broadband Price Hikes – Under 1 Year After Last Rise

Tuesday, Nov 7th, 2017 (8:09 am) - Score 4,240

Customers of BT’s consumer broadband packages will be irritated to learn that the ISP has announced another round of price hikes for 7th January 2018, which we can’t describe as annual rises anymore because they’ve craftily announced them way earlier than usual.. again.

The good news this time is that the price of Line Rental isn’t changing on 7th January, which is hardly surprising given Ofcom’s recent ruling that cut the price by -£7 per month for landline-only customers (here). At the time we also warned that BT might respond by bringing their usual price hikes forward. As expected, the bad news is that standard (ADSL) and fibre (FTTC/P) broadband prices will now go up by between +£2 to +£2.50 extra per month.

Shifting price hikes forward in time is one tactic that companies sometimes adopt in order to extract extra money from customers, albeit without the rise itself looking more dramatic. For example, BT has previously introduced similar price rises on 3rd July 2016 and then again on 2nd April 2017 (here), which is a gap of less than a year and the latest hike follows that c.8-9 month trend.

The latest move might compensate for Ofcom’s recent decision and it will be interesting to see how other ISPs respond. Historically BT is usually the first to raise their prices and then other major providers follow suit. We should point out that BT also held the price of line rental static during their last hike, although recent advertising changes mean that ISPs are less shy about putting such increases directly onto broadband instead (here).

Elsewhere the cost of BT Sport TV content (add-on) with the BT TV service remains unchanged at +£3.50 a month, although BT Broadband customers who want BT Sport via Sky TV will see an increase of +£2.50 extra per month and those using Sky TV without BT Broadband will see this jump by +£3 extra.

The cost of UK landline calls is also rising from 12ppm (pence per minute) to 13ppm, while calls to mobiles will jump from 16ppm to 17ppm and call setup fees will go from 21p to 22p. The cost of an optional unlimited anytime calls add-on will similarly rise from £8.99 extra per month to £9.50, while unlimited evening and weekend calls jumps from £3.80 to £4.

BT Price Hikes Statement

We’re changing some of our Landline, Broadband and BT Sport prices on 7 January 2018. We’ll write to you during November & December to let you know about the price changes, with a clear breakdown of how each of your products will be affected. If you only take landline services from us, the price of Line Rental isn’t changing on 7 January.

We’re also making some great improvements to your service, including protecting you from nuisance calls with BT Call Protect and answering more calls here at home in the UK and Ireland. And if you have broadband with us, a range of upgrade offers to give you a better experience.

We know that no one likes price changes, but this allows us to upgrade our services and give you more. Every customer will see improvements to their products and services alongside these changes.

Aside from the issue of line rental mentioned earlier, there are also various other reasons why ISPs might need to raise their prices. The biggest cause of this is because we’re all gobbling much more data than before and BT has to compensate for the flexibility of those “unlimited” usage allowances somewhere. Rising inflation is another factor but we take that with a pinch of salt because it was close to 0% during 2015 – 2016 and yet ISP increases continued to occur at a similar level.

Providers are also under pressure to adopt all sorts of new rules and regulations, such as the system for sending millions of warning emails (“subscriber alerts“) for Internet copyright infringement (here), as well as moving customer support back to the UK (a big change at BT and EE), adding more premium TV / sport content and not to mention the new Internet snooping measures (here) or plans for automatic compensation (here).

Suffice to say that service improvements cost money and ultimately the customer will always end up paying because you can’t have something for nothing. One good piece of news from this is that Ofcom’s rule against mid-contract price hikes means that some customers might be able to exit their contract penalty free (you need to do this within 30 days of the notification), but remember that other ISPs may also increasing their prices.

Alternatively customers of BT could try calling the operator to haggle for a lower price (Retentions – Tips for Cutting Your Broadband Bill Without Switching ISP).

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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