Simplicity of line rental changes ruined by TalkTalk contract changes
For anyone ordering a TalkTalk broadband package there are now three contract lengths to choose from - 12, 18 or 24 months. Initially this sounds like a good idea but the implementation seems a little confusing and seems to default to a 24 month contract if you don't pay careful attention. Currently a 24 month contract is the longest Ofcom allows on consumer broadband.
On what should be the go to faster broadband packages(i.e. VDSL2) the pricing is:
- 12 month contract, £32/month plus £50 set-up fee
- 18 month contract, £27/month plus £50 set-up fee
- 24 month contract, £28.50/month plus £50 set-up fee
As is pretty normal these days the set-up fee applies no matter whether you are migrating in, upgrading from ADSL2+ or getting a new line activated. The price is guaranteed for the term of the contract, and this must be the reason why the two year contract is more expensive than the 18 month one. NOTE: The TalkTalk website is a little confusing as prices appear to be missing in some places. UPDATE: Tuesday 20th December, the missing price figures are now in place on the TalkTalk website.
The set-up and monthly prices of the TV packages have changed with price rises and set-up fees between £25 and £100.
While Ofcom does allow 24 month contracts, given the pace of change expected in the broadband market as ultrafast rolls out, if there is to be rapid adoption Ofcom would do well to very quickly review the consumer contract market. Of particularly irk, is that for people who've completed the 12 month minimum term at the wholesale level for VDSL2, the vast majority when migrating are met with new 12/18/24 contracts even though at the wholesale level a GEA-FTTC migration only carries a 1 month term. The longer contracts seemed fairer when promotions meant free activations, free hardware and various vouchers.
With the revived talk of Universal Service Obligation broadband vouchers, unless consumer contracts are sorted out, there is the real situation on the way that come 1st January 2020, people wanting to switch to whoever is able to supply better broadband may be faced with the choice of paying off a contract OR waiting for months before they can upgrade. Ofcom needs to act NOW, rather than the more usual retrospective remedy method to ensure that consumers and SME are free to make use of whatever better broadband vouchers are available without the noose of long contracts from existing slow services.