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Strong Desire for Flexible ISP Contracts and Standalone Broadband

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018 (12:01 am) - Score 1,299
communication services

The latest ISPreview reader poll, which was conducted between 18th Jan and 1st Mar 2018, has suggested that the vast majority (75.1%) of respondents would rather have a truly standalone broadband connection than a bundle. A third would also like UK ISPs to offer shorter contracts.

At present most of the broadband packages purchased over Openreach’s (BT) national UK network still require you to take out a phone (line rental) service, although an increasing number of alternative networks are now offering truly standalone packages (no phone) and Openreach is expected to follow suit within the next year or so.

Suffice to say that the concept of bundles appears to be coming under some pressure. Most people tend to use their home phone significantly less now that Mobile phones are so prevalent, not to mention the impact of Voice-over-IP (VoIP). Meanwhile the rise in alternative video streaming platforms (e.g. NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix etc.) may also be eating into the desirability of traditional Pay TV services.

Bundles can save money, but would you prefer a truly standalone broadband or bundle?
Standalone – 75.1%
Bundle (net,phone,tv etc.) – 24.8%

Which is the most desirable service to include in a home broadband bundle?
None of the above! – 40.3%
Landline Phone – 28.1%
TV – 18.8%
Mobile – 8.8%
Energy (Gas/Elec) – 3.1%
Insurance (House/Car) – 0.6%

Would you like to see all big ISPs offer a shorter but perhaps more expensive contract as an OPTION for their bundles?
No – 37%
Yes – 32.6%
Maybe – 30.3%

We should point out that longer contracts tend to be cheaper because they enable ISPs to spread their cost and risk. Nevertheless quite a few consumers would clearly like the flexibility to pay extra and take out a shorter contract term. This is partly because reliability and performance remain key factors for consumers, yet many fear the possibility of being tied-in to a long contract with an under-performing provider.

The good news is that many smaller ISPs already offer shorter contract terms and some of the biggest providers have also started to do this (e.g. Virgin Media and Sky’s sibling NOW TV platform), although others continue to only flog longer 12, 18 or 24 month terms.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks about the services you use for making most of your phone calls and whether you’d scrap your landline phone if it wasn’t required for broadband? Vote Here.

NOTE: ISPreview.co.uk surveys are likely to receive a higher proportion of tech-savvy respondents than most, although the majority of our visitors are normal consumers (i.e. they come to this site for help and assistance with basic broadband problems / questions or when hunting for a new ISP).

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Mark Jackson
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.
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1 Response
  1. Avatar Steve Jones

    Those who expect standalone broadband to be cheaper than one including voice are in for a rude awakening. Voice revenues were part of what paid for the whole service including all that physical infrastructure. Without voice, the entire costs go on the broadband service. That’s because the incremental costs of providing voice are pretty well zero – for ADSL services they are just provided on the MSANs. VDSL is a bit different at the moment as the voice will be terminated on an MSAN and the broadband bit to a hand-off point, very likely in a different exchange. However, even that is going to change when voice is carried over IP via the VDSL cabinets.

    All this because of the misguided notion that Ofcom promoted that the cost of the line is for voice. It can be seen on the shared unbundled service – it’s the voice provided that has to pick up the cost of the copper loop.

    So it may be popular, but I suspect most of those who voted for it haven’t got much understanding of the cost structures.

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