Are you overpaying £1.1 billion for your broadband?

5 September 2012

slow-internet-connectionHands up if you still have dial-up? No-one? Or are the dial-uppers so daft they can’t actually read. Everyone knows broadband is they way to go, and apart from those in rural areas where broadband hasn’t yet reached (who are excused from this partisan broad-brush labelling) anyone still using dial up must be a few sandwiches short of a picnic. But are all you broadband users quite so clever and savvy as you think you are?

Despite almost 21 million homes now having broadband, almost half of UK surfers (46%) have never switched their broadband provider according to new research from  They have also calculated that, by not switching, householders are overpaying by more than £120 a year on average, which is collectively costing the country a whopping £1.1 billion extra a year. No wonder Murdoch and Branson are billionaires.

Men are more likely to change, with 41% reviewing their broadband supplier at least once a year, compared with just 33% of women. Although let’s face it, who’d trust a girl with the bills anyway. Silver surfers over 55 are least likely to switch, and 18-24s are the most likely. All two of them that can afford to leave their parents’, buy a house and have broadband in it.

But it isn’t just saving money that makes people switch. While cash outlay is the biggest driver for switching broadband, a third of respondents switched owing to poor customer service or technical support, while 28% switched to get faster speeds.

The price paid can vary dramatically too. Almost a third of people pay over £20 per month for broadband, while one in 10 fork out at least £30, despite available packages starting from as little as £3.25 a month and that almost a quarter (23%) of packages cost less than £10 a month. Clearly if you are paying more than a tenner, you should be getting something extra for your cash.

But even those who review their broadband and find a more suitable deal don’t always manage to go through with the switch, because of pushy providers. When calling up to cancel, over a quarter of people have been persuaded to stay by their provider when they called up to leave. If you’re wheedling a better deal out of them, then great, but don’t just stay because you feel sorry for them. And if they can do you a better deal when you threaten to leave, why couldn’t they give you the better deal before hand HUH?

Julia Stent, telecoms expert at, says: “Broadband has become the fourth utility after gas, electricity and water. It is fast becoming an essential, rather than a luxury for many. However, too few people realise that they could be getting a much better deal, not only in terms of value for money, but also better speeds and connectivity. If people have never switched, they may not know if their local area has recently received a super-fast broadband upgrade, or if they could be paying a lot less for their deal. Many packages are now less than £10 a month – substantially cheaper than many consumers are currently paying.”

TOPICS:   Technology   Broadband


  • Justin
    First! (And i've got dialup, it's ace)
  • Keith
    I used to have broadband through fixed line/cable but both failed me in terms of speed (it was like having dialup but still paying for broadband). I now use mobile broadband and I get really high speeds and it costs me £15 per month (and no additional line rental on top). Customer service from the big broadband suppliers can be very bad, and when you are told something like "It depends how much noise you have on the line, the more noise you have the poorer speed you will have. I hope this helps" it feels like they are telling you it's your fault even when it isn't . I work in IT and have done for 15 plus years - but I fail to understand how these companies can continue to make a profit when their services are so poor!
  • Dick
    I've never switched my broadband. I've been on O2 ever since I had broadband, and I'm happy with the price and the quality and the unlimited downloads and I am never throttled (old contract).
  • Matt
    Did they consider that perhaps those people who haven't switched are happy with the service they are getting? Why switch to pay a bit less when you could potentially get a service with less reliability/poorer customer support? Perhaps they are willing to keep paying more, safe in the knowledge that their service is right for them. Usually if people have something to complain about, they do something about it rather than staying with it.
  • lasdfj
    Many broadband services are rip-offs, but also many of the £10 packages are entirely useless, particular for most of the avid Bitterwallet readers as they will use up their data allowance in an evening on xhamster.
  • Joe
    I agree with Dick. Been on O2 for a year now and could never consider leaving. Called them last week to re-sign my contract for another year and they gave me a load of free Xbox-related stuff and half-price broadband for a year, I didn't even have to ask and they chucked all that my way. Customer service and the broadband itself is utterly faultless. Honestly couldn't recommend O2 highly enough.
  • Me
    Awaiting moderation??? CUNTS!
  • Chewbacca
    ^It's because you're a fucking twat.
  • Nikey H.
    Keith, you worked in IT for 15 years? And, does that mean you are a IT pro ? I have been working in IT for 5 years and this is my reply to you - What kind of a twat who works in IT wants to call a broadband's customer services ? How far are you from your exchange ?
  • Felacio N.
    I see Chewbacca is on the charm offensive again.
  • Sicknote
    Not me; I have 100meg Virgin fibre and I thrash the arse off it all day downloading my warez
  • captain c.
    As I keep telling the twerp from Talk talk, I dont care how cheap the package is, it is still a POS.
  • Chewbacca
    Hi there blowjob shortarse! (Felacio Nelson for those unaware of our pet names for each other (well, mine for him, anyway)). I wasn't trying to be anything other than honest. The guy who posts under the pseudonym "Me" (original as anything) is a bit of a twat, and really should be fucking off back under his bridge, as he is FAR too easily offended. The fucking twat that he is.
  • JonB
    I have two issues with this article: 1. Fourth utility after gas, electricity and water? Nonsense. Mobile/fixed line telephony is more important: Most people I see around wouldn't last 10 seconds without their mobile device. Updating your facebook page once a minute is not essential. 2. All suppliers charge a line rental, which is at least £9 and often more, so broadband for £3.25 is utter rubbish. That's probably the headline price after 75% discount for the first couple of months to draw you in, and then increasing to £10 plus £9 line rental plus admin fees or something similar. I've been with PlusNet for 7 years now. I've had hardly any line problems, they reduced my tariff when they brought out better deals, they upgraded my service recently without charge and they give me £2 a month off my bill for recommending a couple of friends.
  • Muff G.
    ^ This man uses PlusNet, his opinions are therefore irrelevant
  • danottmburp
    @JonB - name me one thing a mobile phone can do that a laptop/pc connected to the ineternet can not ? make calls ? - skype the internet is a far more valuable resource than any mobile/fixed line . enables me to find the best deals before going shopping get freebies find out almost anything i want instantly save small fortunes on calls abroad so i would say yes i completely agree it is the fourth utility after gas,electric and water . but saying all that someone using "plusnet" when there are a myriad of other far superior providers says it all really .
  • young'un
    woo i'm one of the two under 25's :D i'd never switch as i'm with Virgin Media on a excellent connection. parents have never changed as they are with BT and live out in the sticks, so best connection is via BT

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