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Broadband Brits Spend 5 Weeks a Year Online
By: MarkJ - 20 July, 2007 (8:58 AM)

The latest uSwitch.com research has revealed that people in Britain spend 34 days a year (15 hours per week) online, which is longer than eating & drinking (21 days), personal grooming (11 days) and socialising (22 days).

Unfortunately the study, coming from a price comparison site, goes on to make the mistake of promoting the saving of cash on cheaper packages rather then getting a quality service:

Yet, despite having one of the most competitive markets in Europe, 74% of broadband customers haven’t switched supplier in the last year and nearly half (42%) have never switched. So when it comes to paying for broadband it should be a case of heads over hearts as customers could save an average of almost £100 or up to £240 a year by switching supplier once their fixed contracts come to an end.

7.8 million broadband customers today, pay between £15 to over £30 a month for the service they receive, with the average cost standing at £18 a month. With 60% of existing broadband users potentially paying more than they should be for their contracts and collectively wasting £749 million a year, or the equivalent of £62.4 million a month, it is more important than ever for people to shop around. The cheapest standalone broadband deals are offered by Plusnet and Virgin Media (until the end of July) and cost around £10 a month. Additionally, with a range of ‘free broadband’ offers flooding the market from suppliers like Talk Talk, Orange and Sky it simply doesn’t make sense for anyone to be paying over the odds.

Steve Weller Head of Communications Services at uSwitch.com comments: “The fast moving pace of the broadband market and increased competition in the industry sparked a price war over the past eighteen months. This has been exciting news for consumers as it has brought along the advent of free broadband and very competitive pricing. However, consumers need to vote with their feet to take advantage of these new deals and ensure they are not wasting money on more expensive packages. Where free broadband is bundled with mobile phone, digital TV or landline packages, those thinking of signing up should consider the cost implications of the attached products and the contract length. Alternatively, those users who prefer a standalone broadband product really shouldn’t have to pay much more than £10 a month.

We shouldn’t have to pay much more than £10 per month for broadband? It’d be wonderful if that were true, yet in reality such a proposition is economically unfeasible, especially for most small and medium sized ISP’s.

Even larger providers would have difficulty and need to subsidise such packages, weakening the quality of their services and support. Typically choosing on price alone is common place, but neglects the consideration of whether or not such a provider offers a quality, well supported and reliable service. Rarely does paying less get you more.

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