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Brits blow big bucks on broadband

13th November 2012 Print

Brits may be binning almost a billion pounds a year by not changing broadband provider, according to a new study.

The online research, by broadband comparison site, found that over half (58%) of all UK  adults with  fixed-line broadband at home have not switched internet provider in the last five years, potentially missing out on hundreds of pounds of savings.

And even though the average UK internet user could reduce their annual bills by over £75, more than a third (40%) of Brits with fixed-line broadband at home are not considering changing provider in the next five years either.

The study echoes similar reports from communications regulator Ofcom, and customer feedback to revealed that consumers are often discouraged from switching by the process, which can sometimes be slow and frustrating. Just under a third (29%) said moving providers was too much "hassle".

This ‘switching apathy' contrasts starkly to other annual household utilities, such as gas and electricity, the suppliers of which are changed by around 100,000 people in the UK each week  - or five million per year.

Dominic Baliszewski, broadband expert at, says: "People are used to shopping around for insurance, energy or even petrol, but being more ‘switch-savvy' with broadband could save households across the UK hundreds of pounds - many consumers do not realise the money they could save may be enough to pay for a weekend away or even a new TV."

Nicola Church, an office worker from London, recently saved £120 from her yearly bill by switching her broadband supplier: "I change my home insurance every year to save a few pounds and use money-off vouchers at the supermarket, but it only just occurred to me that I could save by changing from one broadband supplier to another.

"When I looked into it, I was actually surprised at how much I could take off my monthly bills. It's not enough to fund a trip round the world, but it all adds up, and helps with meeting other costs. Switching also gave me a chance to look at the broadband service I was getting, and I've now changed to a faster connection that suits my internet use better as well."

Top tips for reviewing your broadband package, from

1. Compare deals in your area - broadband package availability, speeds and costs vary by postcode. There might be a deal available in your area offering better service as well as savings, so use an Ofcom-approved broadband comparison calculator to check out the best deals.

2. Download allowance - consider your habits as a broadband user - do you spend a lot of time downloading content like films and games, or do you only want to do a little light surfing and emailing? If the former, it is worth choosing a package with a generous or unlimited download limit to accommodate your activity and avoid excess download penalties.

3. Speed limits - broadband speed makes a huge difference to your experience as a customer, so choose a connection (14Mb or above) that won't leave you waiting hours for a single file to download. This is even more important if there are multiple users online at the same time as this can cause a drag on your broadband speed

4. Consider fibre optic - With BT Infinity's fibre optic roll out and the launch of 4G from EE, superfast broadband is becoming much more widely available - and it is not as expensive as you may think. Fibre optic is fantastic for busy households or gamers who are hungry for bandwidth and can make that pesky ‘buffering' symbol a thing of the past with prices starting from just £7.25 per month.

5. Drop the line rental - line rental prices have crept up in recent years and in many cases cost far more than the actual broadband package itself. Unfortunately, line rental is an unavoidable expense for the majority of broadband customers, but Virgin Media allow you to buy their fixed line broadband service without a landline connection attached, potentially saving you over £100 a year.

6. Sign-up online - many broadband providers offer additional discounts and incentives if you subscribe online rather than over the phone. Price comparison sites also frequently have exclusive deals negotiated with providers, so check an Ofcom-accredited site for the best offers.