Broadband expert shares 5 ways to easily beat Virgin, BT and Sky’s shock price rises
The cost of living crisis over the past year has hit Britons hard, particularly as broadband providers including BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk and Vodafone have announced that they are hiking prices by more than 14 percent in the coming weeks, including for customers in the middle of their contract. In fact, BT will hike things by a recording-breaking 14.4 percent as soon as March 31. As families look to escape these unaffordable bills, a broadband advice service, has shared some tips to help people save money on broadband and beat these price rises.
Tyler Bevan, the co-founder of broadbandsavvy.com, highlighted five ways in which households can lower their broadband bills and here’s some top tips to help you save some cash:
See if you’re eligible for a social tariff
Major ISPs including BT, Virgin Media, KCOM, Sky, and Vodafone all offer so-called social tariffs and they can save serious money.
“Some people aren’t aware of this, but many broadband providers offer special social tariffs for those in need. If you’re on benefits, you might be eligible to access a cheaper broadband plan,” explained Bevan.
The criteria to qualify varies between different providers, and generally, you either need to be on Universal Credit, Pension Credit, Employment and Support Allowance, a Personal Independence Payment, a disability allowance, or a jobseeker’s allowance to access a social tariff.
“With a BT social tariff. for example, you’ll pay £15 per month for a 36- megabit plan. The same plan would cost about £27 per month without the social tariff applied. And the great thing is, you can apply for a social tariff even if you’re currently locked into a contract with your provider,” Bevan added.
All you need to do to get this tariff is to apply on the provider’s website and prove your eligibility.
Once you have signed up, the company will verify every 12-24 months whether you are still eligible to receive a discounted broadband package.
Ask your provider for help if you’re struggling to pay your bill
If you are struggling to afford your broadband bills, most providers offer special assistance to those in need. Which is why it is always worth calling your company and asking for assistance.
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Mr Bevan explained: “Many broadband providers will help to move you to a cheaper tariff, if you can prove that you are struggling to pay the bills.
“Others have an emergency fund that’s designed to help their most vulnerable customers who are in serious need. And finally, most broadband providers offer payment plans if you’re behind on your bills, helping you to minimise the late fees you have to pay.”
Switch to a broadband provider that doesn’t do mid-contract price rises
While most ISPs raise your monthly bills every year, even if you’re in a contract, some providers guarantee to leave their prices unchanged.
Once your current contract expires, you could choose a broadband provider that doesn’t implement mid-contract price rises, which include the following:
• Zen Internet
• Sky (they may increase prices mid-contract, but you can choose to leave)
NOW Broadband also offers a month-to-month contract, meaning that if they increase prices, you can immediately choose to switch to a different provider.
Your broadband provider may be able to help support you
Ensure that you’re only paying for the bandwidth that you need
Do you really need 1Gbps downloads? Maybe not and dropping your speed can save cash.
Mr Bevan said: “If you’re out of contract and currently shopping for a new broadband deal, it pays to make sure that you’re not wasting money on bandwidth you don’t really need.”
“For example, if you’re a two-person household on a 100 megabit broadband plan, you should be able to save at least £60 per year by switching to a 36 megabit package, without facing any buffering while watching videos, or dropouts when using Zoom.”
To get an idea of how much bandwidth you need, you can use this online calculator
Broadband bills are set to increase in weeks
Consider switching to a 4G internet connection
As broadband bills increase, many are ditching fibre broadband for 4G, as it’s cheaper and more flexible, while still offering good download speeds.
Many major mobile networks sell 4G routers bundled with a data SIM plan, making it easy to get set up with a 4G internet connection.
Mr Bevan said: “With a 4G router, you can get download speeds of around 30-40 megabits, including unlimited data, for a lower price than you would pay for a similar fibre broadband deal.
“And with 4G technology, you can get a flexible pay as you go data plan, meaning you don’t need to lock into a long-term contract, like you do with most broadband providers.”
There are downsides to this however, as using 4G will means that you have higher latency, which could mean more lag while playing online games.
He said: “Also, before buying a 4G router, you need to ensure you have good 4G signal at your address. You can do this by using the coverage checker on the website of the mobile network you’re considering using.”