Several major broadband providers have announced hefty price hikes to impact customers in the spring.
Customers of providers like BT, Plusnet, Vodafone and more will see their bills jump by as much as 7.9% in April.
Here, we explain why this is happening, which providers are planning to hike their rates and what you can do about it.
Why are broadband bills going up?
Spiralling inflation is pushing many providers to up their prices, citing the increased cost of regulating their networks and higher energy prices.
Providers normally can’t increase the price you have to pay mid-contract at the drop of a hat. They can, however, increase it by the rate of inflation, plus a few extra percentage points on top, if this is in their terms and conditions.
Many providers will be using December’s 4% rate of CPI inflation plus a few percent on top. Others will use January’s RPI figure, which we won’t know until February – we’ll update this article when this figure, and the rates from these providers, are confirmed.
Which providers are hiking their prices?
Your broadband provider should have sent you a message about their price increases, letting you know exactly how much you’ll be paying.
The price hikes won’t impact “vulnerable” customers or customers on social tariffs, which are available to people on particular government benefits. Read more about these offers in our article Are you entitled to cheaper broadband? Exclusions also apply in some cases to customers within the minimum term of a fixed contract.
The following changes will take place on March 31 or April 1 2024:
Virgin customers will see their prices go up by January’s rate of RPI inflation plus 3.9% – we’ll update this article when we know exactly what this figure is.
Users of BT broadband will experience a rise of 7.9% in their bills – that’s the December RPI rate of 4% plus 3.9% on top.
Landline-only and Home Phone Saver users will just get a 4% increase, and customers on the “Home Essentials and Basic” social tariff will see no increase.
Plusnet customers will also see a 7.9% rise in their bills, unless they are within the minimum term of a fixed contract – then the increase will apply to calls only and nothing else.
EE is also raising prices by 7.9% for customers – unless you are a pay-as-you-go user or on their “Mobile Basics” social tariff, in which case you’ll see no increase.
Shell broadband and landline customers who signed up on or before January 22nd 2024 will be hit with a 6% increase in their bill (December’s 4% CPI figure plus 2%), while customers who signed up after this won’t experience any increase until April next year.
Vodafone will increase prices by 7.9% in April.
TalkTalk customers will also experience a 7.9% increase in broadband and landline bills.
Fixed Price Plus customers out of their minimum contract period will see a 4% increase. No increase will apply to those within the contract period, Pre-Pay Saver customers, TV add-on users or “most vulnerable customers.
Three customers will also be hit by a 7.9% increase in bills.
Sky haven’t confirmed their price increase for broadband and landline customers yet.
What can I do to avoid paying more?
Switch your broadband deal
If your contract with your provider has ended and you’ve automatically been rolled onto their pricier standard tariff, then you can leave at any time penalty-free. Have a look at deals for new customers with other providers and see if you can land a better deal. Our article How to find the best broadband deal contains some helpful tips.
In most cases, you can’t switch if you’re still under a contract. However, Virgin did not include the possibility for price hikes in their contracts, so Virgin customers affected by the increase were able to switch fee-free even if they are still under contract, as long as they did so within 30 days of being notified of the price increase.
If you’re considering switching your broadband provider, it’s worth doing plenty of research so you can be certain you’ve found the best possible deal to suit your needs. Comparison sites such as MoneySuperMarket, Uswitch and Compare the Market all enable you to compare the latest broadband deals, whether you’re looking to switch just your broadband, or if you want a broadband, phone and TV package.
Haggle with your provider
If you want to stay with your current provider, then you can still likely haggle for a better deal. You can leverage your right to leave penalty-free if you are out of contract, and see if they’ll offer you a better rate to convince you to stay.
Stuart Jones, broadband spokeperson at Go.Compare, said: “Broadband is the household bill that Brits are most happy to barter on, as prices aren’t always fixed. Many broadband providers expect you to negotiate with them, so if you are out of contract, it is definitely worth a go.”
You can find out more about switching broadband providers in our guide How to switch broadband providers: a simple guide.
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