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ASA solves line rental crisis in broadband world
Wednesday 04 May 2016 10:00:40 by Andrew Ferguson

The broadband advertising creative may need to get a bit more creative again in their battle with the ASA and all the other creatives as they try to make their broadband brand more visible and popular than the rest. The ASA has issued confirmation that from 31st October 2016 adverts for fixed broadband will be subject to a new regime.

  • Adverts and listings should show all-inclusive pricing for both upfront and monthly costs, with no more splitting the line rental out
  • Contract length should be greater prominence
  • Pricing after any discount period should be clear
  • Up-front costs should have greater prominence

We have been expecting these changes since January and for the large providers where line rental via that provider was a requirement of the broadband service we have for some time combined the two in our main listings and will over the next few weeks update our special offers page to reflect the same. This means even if providers wait until October 2016 we will be well ahead of the curve.

There is still confusion over what to do with broadband providers where you are free to choose any line rental provider, since you cannot include a line rental price as pricing varies wildly in a range of around £11 to £19 per month. For many sites with broadband package listings this is probably immaterial, but as we list so many of the smaller operators who have not gone down the enforced bundle route things are more complex. Adrian Kennard of AAISP goes through some of the complexity that the new rules or recommendations may introduce especially for smaller operators that have many more options and package permutations.

Rolling line rental into the total package price may be simpler and it does remove the annual cycle of moans about line rental price rises, so that going forward we will only have moans about the broadband package rising in price. In terms of advertising and price offers, it means you can wave goodbye to the 18 months free broadband offers, and we predict a wave of first month free or first three months free offers to replace these and the rise of 'free gifts' and 'rewards' will be even more prominent.

Autumn 2016 is when we have been expecting the naked DSL SOGEA FTTC product to appear in the wild, but as the indications are that those planning to retail the product are working on VoIP telephone service it may not be significantly cheaper per month, especially now the tag line 'no line rental required' has been removed.


Posted by WWWombat 6 months ago
Woohoo. A great move.

Of course, it won't reduce any charges. And there will be plenty of ways the marketers will make it hard to compare. But it is the start of acknowledgement that data is now the primary service, not voice.

I get the feeling that SOGEA is going to be timed to come into play well after the market settles down. I suspect it will end up as a tool for ISPs to set their networks up more efficiently/profitably, rather than alter the retail price.
Posted by TheEulerID 6 months ago
The ASA will be primarily interested primarily in the "mass market" ISPs who sell inclusive packages. I'm sure if the main players (especially BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet and VM who a the main advertisers) are following the rules for their main packages that will probably meet their objectives.
I suspect those buying from "boutique" ISPs and for businesses are considered better informed.
Posted by TheEulerID 6 months ago

I think SOGEA is also intended towards the day when POTS eventually disappears in favour of VOIP and OR can rid themselves of most small exchanges (and the need to maintain a lot of E-side copper). Whether such a day ever appears is another thing as there are all sorts of issues, both in markets, technical and social areas to consider.
Posted by WWWombat 6 months ago
I think it is part of that process, yes.

However, the FTTC cabinets haven't been dimensioned large enough to be a total replacement ... so it can't be the only thing going on.

What fills the gap? Infill with G.Fast? Or start to use 21CN MSANs to their full extent?
Posted by TheEulerID 6 months ago
I think it's just a tentative step on the road. The issue is fraught with difficulties as you indicate. The logical approach (which would avoid the existing cabinet constraints) is to push fibre deeper, as that way you gain speed and capacity. The power issue has to be resolved to make more nodes viable, and I think that must mean RP as shortening the loop and reducing resistive losses go hand in hand. It means finding a way to power a node with a single active line from that single active line.
Posted by Michael_Chare 6 months ago
Will this be the end of Line Rental Saver?

What annoys is not being able to have LRS for the same length of time as an 18 month broadband contract.
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