Millions of broadband customers face bill hikes of up to £113 next year | The Sun

MILLIONS of broadband customers are facing bill hikes of up to £113 next year.

Research from Which? shows consumers could face up to an almost 14% rise on top of already soaring food, fuel and energy prices.

The consumer champion found the average BT customer could see the largest potential increase of £113.07.

Next was EE, whose customers could pay an extra £105.46.

Vodafone and TalkTalk customers could pay an extra £92.35 and £90.15 respectively.

Plusnet customers could see their bills rise the least by £87.15.

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Overall, Which? said the changes would impact millions of customers.

Many broadband companies raise their prices every April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) of inflation plus an additional 3.7% or 3.9%.

The CPI measures the monthly change in prices paid by consumers on an average basket of goods and services.

Inflation fell to 9.9% in August after reaching a 40-year high, but the Bank of England has estimated it could hit 12.6% in January 2023.

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The price rises are often applied midway through contracts when customers face leaving penalties for switching their providers.

It means customers can effectively be forced into paying extra for their internet.

If mid-contract broadband prices go up in line with inflation as it is predicted to be, customers will face paying much more than they were last year.

Which? said it could see broadband customers faced with paying as much as £120 to £156 more on their bills by 2024 compared with 2022, if they had signed up to a two-year contract.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, said: “It is unacceptable that many broadband customers are facing price hikes of up to £113 to their bill during an unrelenting cost of living crisis.

“Customers should be allowed to leave their contract without penalty if prices are hiked mid-contract – regardless of whether or not these increases can be said to be ‘transparent’."

How can I save money on my broadband bills?

If you're looking to save money on your broadband bills, you have some options.

Switching contracts when yours is finished is one way to cut back on costs.

In the weeks leading up to your contract running its course, use comparison sites to look around for the best deals.

Sites like MoneySuperMarket and Uswitch all let you customise your search based on price, speed and provider.

So you'll be able to figure out not which package is cheapest, but also the one that best suits your needs.

If you don't want to switch providers, you can try haggling for a better new deal.

The Sun spoke to one Virgin customer who saved £210 on their broadband bill after asking for a better-priced package.

If your provider is taking no for an answer, you can always say you'll leave.

Companies never want to lose customers and may come up with a last-minute offer to tempt you to stay.

And if you're receiving certain benefits you can get social broadband tariffs.

These are cheaper broadband and phone deals offered by some providers.

Figures revealed by Ofcom this week show that the number of households on social broadband tariffs has risen from 55,000 to 136,000 since January.

But that still means millions are missing out and it could save you hundreds a year.

In August, Sun Money called on the government, regulator Ofcom and suppliers to do more to support struggling customers.

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We launched a tool with Nous, to help shed light on how much customers can save.

We also called on firms to make it easier to for customers to switch tariffs.

A BT Consumer spokesperson said it was offering a penalty-free move to its Home Essentials broadband package for eligible customers who were struggling to pay their bills "in the coming weeks".

A TalkTalk spokesperson said it was "disappointing" Which? would release "inaccurate findings that could confuse and worry customers".

They added its Fibre35 packages start at £24 a month and the company was proud to be the country's "largest value provider".

A Vodafone spokesperson said it was offering affordable mobile and home broadband plans, including its Basic range and a VOXI for Now social mobile tariff, adding it had frozen prices for customers who were classed as financially vulnerable.

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They said the provider was working with the government on the Help for Households campaign and was also running a separate "everyone connected campaign".

They added the company was facing "rising operational costs".

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