More than nine in 10 households can now get superfast broadband, but less than half have taken advantage of it.
The communications regulator Ofcom says that many households are also paying more than they should be to get online.
It has found that four million households are on old-fashioned basic broadband deals where fixed terms that prevent them from switching without penalty have expired. The vast majority of these households could switch to cheaper and faster broadband deals immediately.
Ofcom has announced measures to help broadband customers get better deals as a result.
This includes obliging firms to tell customers about best available deals, when deals are ending, and to remind those customers annually of better deals available if they have moved off the fixed contract.
The regulator is also planning on conducting a review of broadband pricing across the market to understand why some customers pay over the odds compared to others.
It has also launched a campaign and website called ‘Boost Your Broadband’ to highlight to consumers what deals are available in their areas and how to get better service from providers.
Sharon White, Ofcom chief executive, says: “We’re concerned that many loyal broadband customers aren’t getting the best deal they could.
“So we’re reviewing broadband pricing practices and ensuring customers get clear, accurate information from their provider about the best deals they offer.”
The initiative has the backing of the government and consumer champion Gloria Hunniford, OBE.
She says: “Millions of people could boost their broadband in the run-up to Christmas, when lots of families really need the internet.
So I’m encouraging people to visit the new website, which offers independent advice on how to get the best deal and possibly a faster service from your broadband company, with a single phone call.”
Kelly Tolhurst MP, consumer minister, adds: “Our consumer protection regime is one of the strongest in the world, but there is always more to do to ensure people know their rights.
“I welcome Ofcom’s Boost Your Broadband campaign to help consumers find the best deals. Broadband is a vital service and we want to see people getting a high-quality service without paying more than they need to.”
Watch the video below for more from Ms Hunniford:
You can visit the new Ofcom website here.