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Brits waste millions as broadband bundle costs plummet

4th March 2013 Print

Brits are throwing away over £500 million a year by failing to switch their broadband package according to a new report. More than third (39%) of UK households admitted they haven't switched in over 4 years despite a dramatic drop in prices during this time.
The study of more than 2,000 internet users by also compared historical and current broadband prices. Many customers can now get a broadband and home phone bundle for just £62 a year - a massive reduction in price from 4 years ago when households had to pay an average of £132 per year for their broadband package alone.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at commented: "A lot of customers are stuck on outdated packages and could get so much more for their money if they just switched. Only four years ago, you would have had to pay an average of £132 annually just for your broadband service. Fast forward to 2013 and you can now get your broadband and home phone service bundled together for just £62 a year - a saving of 53%. People are used to shopping around for energy, insurance or even petrol, but customers are still failing to regularly switch their broadband service, potentially pouring over £500 million down the drain each year."
Switching apathy has long been a problem in the broadband market, despite industry regulator Ofcom introducing guidelines to make the switching process easier.
Dominic continued: "One thing we consistently hear from consumers is that they think switching broadband will be complicated and difficult, but this couldn't be further from the truth nowadays. Customers who do their homework can benefit from a straightforward switching process - just follow our advice below if you are unsure."'s tips for switching broadband:

1. Compare the true cost of packages: Use an Ofcom-approved site that details hidden costs like installation charges, line rental and monthly prices after any special offer discounts expire. It is important to get a realistic picture of what you will have to pay in the first year, so get your sums right before switching. offers a complete price breakdown so that customers don't have to face the hassle of tracking down these costs themselves.

2. Check your contract length: Read your current contract to be certain that it has expired, allowing you to switch without any ‘early exit fees.' Also take note of the length of the new contract length you are signing up to - some providers have 18 month terms rather than the standard 12 months.

3. Read customer reviews: Unsure of your new provider's reputation? Customers make for the harshest critics so look for comparison sites that publish customer ratings - this will give you a realistic picture of the service the provider offers. offers unique provider star ratings taken from the reviews of over 10,000 broadband customers.

4. Data limits - 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 ‘truly unlimited' download limit to accommodate your activity and avoid excess download penalties.

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

6. Consider fibre optic - More providers than ever before are now offering fibre - 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 under £10 per month.

7. Call costs: Look for things like inclusive mobile minutes and 0845 numbers on your home phone package as these can really bump up a monthly bill. If they are not included in the monthly package cost, make sure the per-minute call costs are clearly signposted to you before signing up as they can be cleverly hidden away on provider sites. provides a full list of call costs, so you know what you will have to pay.

8. Pay your line rental up front: Line rental is a ‘hidden cost' of broadband and in many cases is pricier than the package itself. Some providers, like Sky and BT, offer a significant discount of around £50 to customers who pay for their line rental upfront so its worth doing if you can afford it.

9. Get your MAC code: Some switches need a MAC code (Migration Authorisation Code), allowing you to switch broadband provider without any break in your service by helping your new ‘gaining provider' identify where your line is. You can get this code by calling your ‘losing' provider (the provider you're leaving) and asking for it - they are obliged to give it to you within 5 days. (N.B. MAC codes are only used when switching some ADSL services. They are not needed for cable broadband). If you don't feel comfortable battling with the provider you are leaving for this, ask your new provider to handle it for you - they will be motivated to switch you as soon as possible.

10. 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 negotiate exclusive deals with providers on your behalf, so check here first for the best offers.