Broadband customers who stay with the same provider and do not haggle for a better deals are being hit with “loyalty penalties” of up to £220 a year, a consumer group has warned.
Which? found that in some cases consumers would be better taking up a new superfast broadband contract rather than staying loyal to their provider without haggling as it would work out cheaper over the course of a year.
BT customers are at risk of paying the biggest loyalty premium – £220 – of the eight major providers, the watchdog said.
The average annual broadband bill paid by a loyal BT customer is £540 a year compared to £372 for those customers who haggled – £160 more than the provider’s cheapest fibre deal for a superfast connections, its survey suggests.
But new customers who take up a contract for standard broadband with BT now will pay just under £320 a year until their contract is up, usually at least 18 months.
cost for loyal customers.
Long-time customers were paying £540 on average but those who negotiated a better deal saved an average of £156.
TalkTalk‘s new customers paid about £85 less than loyal customers, while Plusnet customers who haggled were paying £48 less on average than those who did not at £252.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “Broadband customers will be appalled that not only could they be paying through the nose simply for being loyal to their provider but that they could, in some cases, also get a much faster internet connection for a fraction of the price that they are currently paying.
“If you are willing to negotiate and happy with your current service, haggling might get you a good discount, but researching the deals available and switching is the best way to ensure you’re on a good value tariff.”
Which? surveyed 3,131 members about their standalone broadband in October 2018.
Households that allow contracts to expire paying an average of £53.40 more annually to persist with standard packages when faster alternative available
As many as four million UK broadband customers are paying more than they need to for their internet connection, staying with standard providers after their contracts expire despite 95 per cent of consumers living within range of faster, more reliable fibre networks, research shows.
One in three consumers are currently not on a contract because it has expired and are paying an average of £53.40 more annually to persist with standard packages when a fibre connection could ultimately prove cheaper and deliver faster speeds, according to the research carried out by price comparison site uSwitch.com.
In total, £222m is being needlessly squandered on expired standard broadband contracts every year, uSwitch says.
While fibre contracts are on average £6.25 per month more expensive than standard packages, the sudden up-tick in charging when contracts expire is far more severe with the latter option.
Standard subscribers can face a price jump of as much 51 per cent after expiration, comparing unfavourably with the 31 per cent increase typically seen by those with fibre deals, according to the website.
In the worst case scenario identified by uSwitch, subscribers to Sky’s standard Unlimited Broadband saw a 98 per cent jump in charging when their original agreement ends – although the hike is inflated in this case as it relates to customers who had taken up a special introductory offer in the first instance.
Ofcom is currently considering whether to order BT to reduce the wholesale price the telecoms giant charges providers for access to its superfast Openreach network by £20 a year.
If the ruling is given the go-head, fibre customers should see the saving reflected in their bills, a further incentive for those considering switching their allegiances to do so.
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If you are considering investing in a CCTV system for your home or commercial space, or already have, it can be handy to know what you can and can’t do with it. A CCTV system includes the CCTV camera, storage, recording and all associated equipment.
As an individual, you have the right to protect your property, which a CCTV system can help with significantly. Using CCTV as a security measure is a very sensible option as long as it is operated in a responsible way and is respectful of others’ privacy.
It is now a very common occurrence for homeowners to use CCTV systems to protect their domestic space. It may seem reasonable to safeguard your home but the number of complaints from members of the public or peoples’ neighbours are on the increase. Complaints are often made by neighbours who believe that the CCTV systems are being used to impeach their privacy and to spy on them.
To ensure that you use your personal CCTV effectively and respectfully, see the list of rules and tips below.
Consider how your system may affect others
Will a certain positioning of your camera intrude on your neighbour’s privacy? If yes, consider options like privacy filters
If your system captures images outside of your household, you become subject to the Data Protection Act.
Being transparent about your CCTV system
You can inform the public that recording is taking place on your property or premises by having a notice, which may reduce the number of complaints.
You should also inform your neighbours about your new or existing CCTV system
If you have an existing CCTV system you should:
Make sure it is still essential
That you regularly go through the footage and delete recordings that are unnecessary to keep
Ensure that it is not intruding on your neighbours property which could result in complains of a breach of privacy or harassment.
Take responsibility for your system
Your are responsible for what your CCTV records or captures images of
You must ensure that the footage or images are not used for anything other than to protect your home
Ensure that you know how to operate your system and that it is installed correctly, if not, make sure to read the manual.
Storing footage or images
The date and time stamps for the footage should always be correct
You must ensure that all recordings are kept safe and secure with access at a minimum
Make sure that information that is recorded is used for the reason for installation
Using recorded information as evidence
If your CCTV system records an incident, it may be called upon as evidence by the police to help an investigation.
If you have any further questions or concerns about your CCTV system you should contact your installer. Elsewhere on our website you can also find advice on which CCTV equipment could be the best for you and helpful video tutorials with installation advice.
BT is to remove all caps on home broadband plans to give customers unlimited data while working from home or self-isolating. The BT Group, which also includes mobile network EE, said it wanted to help people stay connected during periods of isolation because of the coronavirus outbreak. If comes after the firm said it was among networks in talks with the Government over allowing ministers to use anonymity mobile data to monitor whether people are following social distancing measures. BT said the talks were part of discussions with the Government over how it could aid in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.
As part of its own plans, BT said it was also introducing measures to support its “most vulnerable customers”. For its BT landline-only customers, the firm said it was removing out-of-bundle charges for UK landline and mobile calls and was placing a £5-per-month cap on bills.
BT consumer division chief executive Marc Allera said: “Personal and local support is important for every customer, but no more so than our vulnerable customers and their carers – who we are treating as a priority.
“We have specialist teams trained in how to help customers with physical disabilities, mental health issues and a specialist dementia support team, who are doing their very best to ensure those vulnerable customers in isolation get the support they need.”
Mr Allera added that the firm was confident its network could handle any extra traffic because of an increase in people working from home.
“We know that working from home won’t generate significantly more traffic across our network than working in the office, even with more video calling and conferencing, HD streaming and now digital homeschooling,” he said.
“We also have a dedicated team of brilliant engineers in our network operations centre monitoring 24/7 for even the slightest issues.
“They’ve seen mobile calls go up, but data usage go down and have even deployed extra monitoring on all areas across our network to stay on top of this constantly evolving situation.”
of their Wholesale Fixed Telecoms Market Review 2021-26 (FTMR), which sets out how various changes (Dark Fibre Access, copper retirement, regulation that varies by geographic area etc.) will be used to boost UK investment in “full fibre” broadband and high capacity Ethernet services.
The FTMR is rather different from past reviews because it is the first one to combine both the Business Connectivity Market Review (i.e. leased lines and Dark Fibre etc.) and the more residential focused Wholesale Local Access Market Review into a single holistic review of both markets, which also covers a much wider 5-year period (from April 2021 to 2026) than the usual 3-years
At present around 19% of UK homes and businesses can access a Fibre-to-the-Premises(FTTP) based broadband ISP network, rising to over 37% for all gigabit-capable (1Gbps+) services (here). On top of that the UK Government has an ambition to ensure that at least 85% of premises can access a “gigabit-capable” connection by the end of 2025 – supported by a £5bn investment for the hardest to reach areas (here).
A significant number of operators are already heavily involved in this work. Openreach (BT) is the largest and plans to cover 4.5 million premises with FTTP by March 2021 and then 20 million by around 2025-30. Some 2 million premises under Virgin Media’s expansion are also expected to get FTTP, although their entire network (c.16m premises) will be 1Gbps+ capable by the end of 2021 thanks to the DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade (here).
On top of that we have significant contributions planned by Cityfibre (1m premises by the end of 2021 and almost 8m after 2025), Hyperoptic (2m by the end of 2021 and an aspiration for 5m by 2024) and a mass of other alternative network (altnet) operators with big deployments (Summary of Full Fibre Build Plans).
Suffice to say that Ofcom’s review is laser focused on helping to lay the groundwork for the further expansion of “full fibre” networks across the United Kingdom, which it hopes to achieve by removing some remaining roadblocks to investment and supporting competition between networks.