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WightFibre Hits Isle of Wight Customers with Annual Price Hikes UPDATE

Friday, Mar 8th, 2024 (9:01 am) - Score 1,560
wightfibre_engineer_working_at_house

Broadband ISP WightFibre, which operates a gigabit speed Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network across the Isle of Wight – just off the South Coast of Hampshire in England, has begun to notify existing customers of their latest annual price increase that is due to be implemented from 1st April 2024.

The provider’s policy on price increases, from their website, isn’t easy to figure out because the only thing they say at the bottom of their product pages is: “Price Increase in April every year.” The statement isn’t directly linked, so we get no detail, while neither their General Terms nor Terms & Conditions pages seem to provide much illumination.

However, we know from past exchanges that the provider’s previous hikes have tended to be partly linked to increases in the rate of CPI inflation (often with a bit added on top), as published in January each year, although it’s unclear if that’s the same this year.

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One of WightFibre’s customers has kindly forwarded a copy of the email they received from the provider, which we’ve pasted below.

Copy of WightFibre’s Price Increase Letter

WightFibre-Price-Increase-Letter-2024

UPDATE 10:44am

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We’ve had the following statement from WightFibre.

John Irvine, CEO of WightFibre, told ISPreview:

“Unlike most operators, WightFibre has no contractually binding annual price increase nor end of contract price increase. All our residential customers are on monthly rolling contracts, “pay what you see, leave when you want”. In common with other operators our costs are rising and so we do apply price increases each April for customers who joined us more than 12 months previously.

For example, from 1st April, a customer joining us in April 2024 would not see their first price increase until April 2026. Customers joining us now in March 2024 will not see their first increase until April 2025. As already stated, these prices increases are not contractually binding and customers are free to leave at any time.

Our price increases are not based any CPI+ formula but are calculated based on a number of factors each year. Our customer churn rates are extremely low and our customer satisfaction levels are the highest in the industry. This indicates that our customers appreciate the high quality and good value service WightFibre provides.”

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
21 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Ivor says:

    nothing says attention to detail like listing the price increase as “£2.6”. That won’t be misinterpreted at all.

    I thought mid contract price rises were just for the big lumbering legacy ISPs?

    1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

      These altnets have to try and service their debt somehow!

  2. Avatar photo Bob says:

    In my view there are just to many players in the market. Longer term I cannot see an area support more than 2 networks at present some areas have 3 or more players fighting for market share and at present the best market penetration is no more than 30%. Divided by 3 that’s not much for each altnet

  3. Avatar photo John Irvine says:

    For the record, and to correct your misleading article, WightFibre is ENTIRELY compliant with ASA guidelines:
    – NO binding contractual increases
    – NO end of contract price hikes
    – NO price increase anyway for up to 23 months.

    WightFibre does not need a detailed explanation of our price increases on our website or in our Ts&Cs but we do not have contractually binding price increases.

    Please don’t lump us in with less than transparent practices employed by the bulk of service providers.

    And I ask again – but you never answer – when are you going to stop anonymous commenting on your website?

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The ASA remark (“the provider might need to put a little more effort into being compliant with the ASA’s new guidelines”) – now removed – was largely reflecting that I couldn’t find a clear policy to define how WightFibre were setting their prices this year. The same issue existed last year, but we later learned it was CPI + 2%, hence the uncertainty this year.

      https://onthewight.com/wightfibre-broadband-prices-going-up-mid-contract/

      The ASA’s guidelines state that “details of what the increase will be based on are featured prominently relative to the price,” among other principles.

      On anonymous commenting. I haven’t had an email from you on that before, and today’s email made no mention? But I apologise if I’ve missed something somewhere. I spend most of the day writing and working on the site, so can’t watch and catch everything with one pair of hands. I also need sleep.

      However, this is a pro-consumer site, and it exists to help give people a voice, so I have to balance freedom of expression with the need to tackle abuse – it’s very much a damned if you do, damned if you don’t kind of challenge. This would exist regardless of whether there’s anonymous commenting or membership-based commenting, which is still anonymous since we’ve no way to 100% verify the identity of people online (many sit behind temporary emails and VPNs etc.).

      If you spot any comments that go over a line, which I might have missed, then please report them to me so that I can tackle. Thanks.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/contact.shtml

    2. Avatar photo Matt says:

      Nothing better to do John?

      Not having a “yearly cadence” in your T&Cs is kinda irrelevant, because you only have to give 30 days notice as per your T&Cs… So, How often do you review that? yearly? say feb/march ? ready for implementation in april? 😛

      You should probably update your copyright year (make it dynamic?) and someone needs to test your mailshot templates better (as mentioned above) a rise of “£2.6” isn’t particularly professional.

      There’s nothing wrong with the comment section IMO.

      Your losses for 2023 are pretty hefty.

    3. Avatar photo Definitely Ed says:

      ‘… does not need a detailed explanation of our price increases…’
      ‘Please don’t lump us in with less than transparent practices…’

      Hmm. Trying to have your cake and eat it there, John? (At least, I assume you’re John).

    4. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      I’m not sure whether that response is helping this Matt. But I’m also not quite following the £2.6 remark, since that will be relative to each specific customer’s package choice. Other customers will get a figure for the rise that reflects whatever services they’re taking, and it’s fairly normal to express this as a £ increase. What am I missing?

    5. Avatar photo Martin Pitt - Aquiss says:

      @Mark I think what @Matt is getting at is that normally £2.6 would normally be presented as £2.60

    6. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      Mark – because it’s not two decimal places as you’d expect a pounds and pence figure to be. Is it £2.60 or £2.06? The former, presumably, but not everyone will read it that way. Just sloppy formatting.

      I hope for WF’s sake that “John” is in fact an imposter. The behaviour would put me right off ever becoming a customer if I lived in their service area.

    7. Avatar photo Matt says:

      @ Mark – Yep, Martin is correct. Just a general lack of attention to detail in the email.

      The rest of this feed is also correct, in that we’re assuming it’s John (though has crept up a few times recently in the comments…)

      Re: ASA I think they’re only compliant because the increase isn’t baked into the terms as a fixed rise, the generic “We’ll increase your price with 30 days notice” is the get our clause and it means that loophole still exists. There’s nothing stopping them putting the price up annually, by whatever metric they want providing they give notice. So yes – feels very disingenuous to say “we’re not doing that!” when you have the blanket provision *and* you’re exercising it *and* last years rise was based off of CPI+2%

      You can’t say “Oh we’re not like the others” – the year after you’ve done exactly like “the others”. Wightfibre should pick a lane.

    8. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

      If this is the real John Irvine then I don’t think he’s done himself or Wightfibre any favours. Quite honestly his comments come across as a bit of a petulant rant. Everyone is free to come on this site and explain why everyone else has got the wrong end of the stick including any altnet CEOs, I’m sure we’d love to hear Greg Mesch & Co’s candid response to the comments. A lot of people commenting here are or have been no doubt industry insiders and would not give their candid opinions if they could be identified.

      His assertion that people should not be able to comment anonymously smacks of “I want to know they are so I can send my lawyers in to shut them up”.

    9. Avatar photo Ben says:

      > when are you going to stop anonymous commenting on your website?

      Tells me that this is just a pro-WF consumer 🙂

  4. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

    That’s not bad for someone on FTTP with an Alt net. Imagine getting that on ADSL :/

  5. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

    I wonder if John Irvine, who could be anyone. Really is John Irvine

  6. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

    We don’t do mid-contract price rises, but we are raising your prices mid-contract.

    There’s a Monty Python sketch in there somewhere. 🙂

    1. Avatar photo RightSaidFred says:

      If the communication of the price rise said “if you’re not happy with the price rise then you are free to leave us without penalty provided that you do so within 30 days of this notification” then fewer people would have caused for complaint.

      There’s zero point pretending that you’re not trying to hide consumer rights if you don’t actually detail those rights on the relevant communications.

  7. Avatar photo Pedant says:

    The CEO is not noticing that his mass emails are (c) Microsoft Dynamics 2022.

    It should probably say (c) WightFibre 2024 but in any event the (c) doesn’t relate to anything other than indicating WightFibre is a subsidiary of Microsoft Dynamics.

    1. Avatar photo Vince says:

      @Pedant

      Copyright doesn’t imply anything of the sort.

      It does suggest the copy is owned by Microsoft Dynamics, but doesn’t tell you anything about owner.

  8. Avatar photo Bob says:

    If what is posted here is correct they are probably in breach of the Consumer Rights Act

    Key terms and that would include any financial terms should be made prominent and not be hidden in the fine print

Comments are closed

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