Research by Ofcom shows that many small businesses haven’t taken up superfast broadband, and many are also paying far more than they need to for their broadband services.
Settling for less than superfast
Ofcom’s study found that 94% of UK homes and offices can now access superfast broadband, but less than half have taken it up. If you are one of those businesses, what’s stopping you? Is it cost?
If it is, Ofcom has news for you. Many businesses with basic broadband could switch to superfast for the same price they currently pay—or even less. Ofcom is particularly concerned about the competitiveness of prices when introductory offers have passed. It estimates that customers who take a landline and broadband service together are paying an average of 19% more once their discounted deal has expired.
Companies tend to offer the best deals to new customers while happily keeping quiet about your options as they continue to take your money for an outdated and overpriced service. But Ofcom points out that the broadband market is now highly competitive, with superfast broadband packages available from around £20 a month.
Ofcom to push for fairer deals
While eight in ten broadband users are happy with their service, Ofcom says it wants to ensure the market works for everyone, and it has announced new measures to help consumers get the best deal.
- Clearer information. From next year, Ofcom want broadband companies, together with mobile, landline and pay-TV providers, to tell you about the best available deal—both when you deal is are coming to an end, and every year after that if you don’t change your deal
- Reviewing broadband prices. Ofcom will review broadband companies’ pricing practices, examining why some customers pay more than others and whether vulnerable customers need extra protections to ensure they get a good deal
- Consumer campaign. Ofcom have launched a major new information campaign and website, Boost Your Broadband, backed by consumer champion Gloria Hunniford OBE, the Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and consumer body Which? The website can tell you what broadband you can access in your area, and offers impartial advice on how to find the best deal
Margot James MP, digital minister, said:
“Our rollout of superfast broadband is reaching thousands more homes and businesses every week and millions of people across the UK can now enjoy the clear benefits that superfast broadband provides.
“This is a welcome, positive step by Ofcom and I urge people to visit the website, check what services are available in their local area and then see if they can get a better deal.”
Four steps to getting better broadband for your business
To see if you could get faster broadband, a better deal or both, simply:
- Visit the website BoostYourBroadband
- Enter your business postcode to see what type of broadband is available for your business: standard, superfast (download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s) or ultrafast (speeds of at least 300 Mbit/s). This checker draws on Ofcom’s latest, authoritative information.
- Decide what broadband service you need by seeing what kind of broadband user you are.
- Either speak to your provider, newly-armed with the information on what to ask for and how to get the best deal, or shop around to see what deals other providers offer.
Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at Which?, said that research shows many people are paying huge loyalty premiums for staying on the same tariff when they could be paying less for a faster internet service.
“If you are unhappy with your internet service, or you think you could be paying too much, you should look to switch provider or try haggling for a better deal,” he advised.
“A few minutes of your time could potentially save you hundreds of pounds a year.”