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How long is life in a broadband world?
Wednesday 31 October 2012 13:43:08 by Andrew Ferguson

The UK broadband market at the retail level has had two major life changing moments with regards to the price of services, the first was when Pipex broke the £30 barrier for broadband, and the other was the launch of 'free' broadband by TalkTalk in 2006. Orange back in 2006 responded to the onslaught that was Carphone Warehouse in 2006 by offering its own free broadband, but the broadband was only free for mobile customers who signed up to long contracts.

Jumping forward six years, Orange is looking to end-of-life this free broadband deal and that has caused an uproar particularly among those customers who have been loyal for many years and factor in the saving on broadband into their decisions at mobile contract renewal time. Technically the broadband will remain free, but to continue to qualify people will also need to move their voice line rental to the telco.

This is Money estimate that the changes will affect 90,000 mobile customers and at a time when Orange was starting to turn around its fixed-line broadband fortunes adding a few thousand new customers in the last quarter any mass defection will not be good on the financial spreadsheets. The current advice is that if you are affected to contact Orange directly, and if you have any original emails or documentation saved showing the terms you signed up to these will support your case.

While many will be rightly annoyed by the requirement to move their voice line rental to Orange, we should point out that this is a WLR product, so should not complicate changing provider at a later date, and it is also worth checking your existing voice line rental pricing, as Orange may not be any more expensive or possibly cheaper.

Money Saving Expert coverage of the issue has a comment from Orange that they have always reserved the right to replace, amend or withdraw the offer. The sensible way out of this situation would be to continue the offer for existing customers, but over time make the new EE broadband and mobile contracts attractive so that people migrate to the new contracts.

Comments

Posted by Michael_Chare about 1 year ago
I would argue that biggest change to the retail broadband market was when BT cut the wholesale price in early 2002. This changed the retail price for broadband from an expensive luxury to a 'No Brainer' for anyone paying for dial up Internet access.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) about 1 year ago
The pipex price change was done in advance of the BT Wholesale cut, making sure the price cut at wholesale would get passed on.

Unlike WLR and LLU prices which have gone down, but retail price has gone up.
Posted by audioslim about 1 year ago
'Reserve the right to change or withdraw the offer'..

That is the exact problem with all these companies. They think a contract only applies to the customer and they can change it as they see fit.

People need to stop this in its tracks by refusing the contract changes and if needs be tear up the contract and move elsewhere.

A contract is a contract pure and simple and cannot be altered without both parties aggreement.

Posted by RussellR about 1 year ago
A contract cannot be unilaterally altered, but I expect that Orange's right to change or withdraw the offer is included in the original terms and conditions. Therefore the customers have already given their agreement to the proposed action by Orange, whether they have read it, or like it.
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