Are you overpaying £1.1 billion for your broadband?
Hands 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 uSwitch.com. 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 uSwitch.com, 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.”