UK broadband price hikes branded ‘unacceptable’
Consumer association Which? says the price hikes planned by the likes of BT and Vodafone are “unacceptable” during a cost-of-living crisis.
Next month, millions of low-income broadband customers will face prices increases from several broadband operators.
Which? said: “Telecoms firms are profiting from those who can least afford it. “We're calling on these companies to urgently cancel 2023 mid-contract price hikes for financially vulnerable customers.”
Every April, many broadband companies raise their prices in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus an additional 3% to 3.9%.
The prices are usually applied mid-contract, forcing customers to accept the increases or pay high exit fees to leave their contract early.
BT confirmed that it will be increasing prices by nearly 15% on March 31. It is the largest mid-contract price hike the UK has ever seen for broadband.
Nick Lane, managing director of consumer customer services at BT, said in 2022: “Price rises are never popular, but are sometimes a necessary part of business, if we’re to keep up with the rising costs we face and ensure we can continue to deliver a brilliant network experience as customers’ usage of data grows month on month.
“We’ve thought long and hard about how we make sure that any pricing changes are predictable, clear, and not unfairly focussed on our existing customers, but reflected in our new prices too.”
Which? says that Vodafone has confirmed it will automatically exempt customers it has previously identified as financially vulnerable from this year’s price rises.
It also adds that TalkTalk has also said it will exempt its most financially vulnerable customers but did not explain how this would happen.