Broadband providers hike prices for new customers following ASA changes

istock/slphotographyStarting today, there’s a major change in the way broadband is advertised: now the price you see is the total monthly cost including phone line rental.

Previously, most packages showed the price of broadband and line rental separately. But broadband was often free or very cheap while line rental is typically around £17-£19, making up a significant chunk of the total month cost. 

Many felt this was misleading, and the ASA agreed; earlier this year it announced that from the 31st of October advertising broadband and line rental separately was “likely to break advertising rules”.

In addition to showing the total cost including line rental, providers and advertisers are now required to give more prominence to contract length, up front costs and post-discount pricing.

What does this mean for broadband users?

Comparing broadband deals should be a lot more straightforward. Not only will the actual running costs be clearer, you’ll have a better idea of how much a package will set you back after discounts or the initial contract term.

Unfortunately, providers are also taking the opportunity to raise prices, some by a relatively small amount and others by a fairly significant degree. The table below shows the first year cost of broadband (including line rental and other up-front fees) for some of the most popular broadband deals from the top ISPs, before and after the changes.

Sep 2016
31 Oct 2016
% increase
BT £299.76 £309.87 3.26%
EE £228 £241 5.39%
Plusnet £222.87 £252.87 11.86%
Sky £218.75 £278.75 21.52%
TalkTalk £244.15 £275.40 11.35%
Virgin Media £386.99 £398.99 3.01%
Average £266.75 £292.81 8.9%

Special offers such as shopping vouchers and other free gifts will continue to be available too, though we’ve probably seen the end of free broadband deals, since line rental was still payable on those.