Households across the UK are overpaying for broadband by 70%, new research has revealed.
Research from comparison site Broadband Expert found that, of 70,000 customers on 8Mbps packages, a whopping 70% were paying more than the best deals currently available on the market.
The average broadband customer pays £16.98 per month for an 8Mbps broadband package. However, some providers offer similar packages for under £10 a month.
According to Broadband Expert, BT and Demon charge their customers the most for broadband, while Sky and O2 charge the least.
Increased competition means broadband prices have dropped significantly over the past few years.
William Harvey, technical director at Broadband Expert, says: “A customer who signed up for a broadband package two years ago could be paying two to three times the amount they would pay if they signed up to a similar or better package today."
Simple to switch
Unlike mobile phone deals, where there is a culture for customers to change their contract every year, broadband customers tend to stick with the same provider for around four years. Exact data isn't available as internet providers do not tend to publicise retention and switching rates.
Some broadband customers are signed up to package deals, which include broadband, landline and television, making it harder for them to switch.
However, Harvey says the vast majority of people have separate deals, so it is relatively simple to switch.
Let’s face it, we all know that shopping around pays. But that doesn’t mean all of us have the time or inclination to do so. There is also a general perception that moving to a new deal – whether it be gas and electricity, a current account or broadband offering – is traumatic and complicated.
But - when it comes to broadband, at least - times have changed.
New regulations from Ofcom, the industry watchdog, mean that internet providers are obliged to provide their customers with a MAC code. This is numerical, like a serial number.
When you want to switch and have found a good deal for you, all you need to do is pass this number onto your new provider. This should make the process as painless as possible.
Responsibility to find the best broadband deals lies mainly with you, the customer. But could providers do more to ensure people are aware of the benefits of switching?
Harvey thinks so. “[Providers need to] ensure long standing customers are not overcharged by moving them on to the same pricing a new customer would receive," he says.
However, the fact of the matter is that, across financial services, loyalty is generally not rewarded with better prices. This is true for mortgages, savings and insurance.
Providers offer the best deals to new customers – once they have lured new people in, the hope is they will stay.
But apathy doesn’t pay. While in an ideal world you would be rewarded for your loyalty, this just isn’t the case so it really is worth reviewing your options to see if you could be better off elsewhere.