Broadband News

Fact check on claim BT Broadband prices to rise by £80 a year

A price rise of over £80 a year or £7 per month is claimed by the Daily Express for BT Broadband but once you finally stop waiting for all the adverts and media to render on the page and scroll past a video clip of Martin Lewis talking about BT broadband price rises you get to the reality.

The first is that yes BT prices are set to rise in January and thus the clip from Good Morning Britain with Martin Lewis is correct as he is talking about the rises that people are being given the required 30 days notice of, but this price rise is not £7 per month and is also not what the Daily Express article is about.

The second point is that the £7 a month actually arises from a speech Ofcom CEO Sharon White gave at a visit to Virgin Media in Birmingham.

The challenge for BT

To catch up, we need still bolder commitments.

And the biggest player remains BT. We welcome Openreach’s commitment to reach two million homes with full fibre by 2020.

The company has also outlined plans to reach 10 million by the mid-2020s, but dependent on up to £7 a month being added to broadband bills.

We expect BT to go further, and make a reality of the ambition it has set itself to be - and I quote – “a national champion with the scale and expertise to meet Britain's future communications needs”.

We recognise, of course, the competing priorities that any major operator faces – be it investing in sports or other content rights, dividends, pensions or its broadband infrastructure.

But the national priority is clear.

Competition for fibre is growing, as will consumer demand for it.

Sharon White, Chief Executive at Ofcom, at a visit to Virgin Media’s centre of excellence in Birmingham

We don't know the mathematics behind how the £7 was derived from what seems to be very early plan by Openreach, but what we will say is that if we as a nation want better services that require investment then someone somewhere will pay. In the case of large companies like Virgin Media and BT a reduction in share dividends can make more cash available for investment, but the large institutional investors will eventually want to see an improved dividend again and maybe a larger dividend to make up for the lean years. Or put another way the £3 billion investment from Virgin Media is eventually going to be paid for by the customers and similarly with firms currently burning their way through venture capital.

No doubt many of our readers would be happy paying an extra £7 per month on their broadband bill to flip from VDSL2 or ADSL2+ to full fibre, but the question is what about the bulk of the population and how this extra cost is portrayed - hence our calling out of a national paper over its coverage of this rise. In short it is no good getting the cost of delivering full fibre down to the £250 to £500 per premise passed if only 1 in 10 actually sign up, since you are then attempting to recover £2,500 to £5,000 from the person actually buying a service.

Ofcom has nailed its colours to the flag pole of competition, but we would add that if BT was to roll-out to 10 million homes there would be some very big battles about it, e.g. competition should allow BT to roll-out where it wants to and odds are that it will largely mirror the CityFibre Gigabit City footprint and the wholesale price is going to be very controlled and a final one will be complaints that all those ducts and chambers with space today will be filled up with Openreach fibre and the associated splitters. In short we look at BT as a national champion, but only at times when others are not interested in an area.

A challenge to Ofcom and all the full fibre operators, what the nation wants is not so much a choice of 2 or 3 ultrafast options at every property but for those homes and places of work where they struggle with the current broadband speed to have an option for a full fibre connection.

Comments

The Daily Express? Really?

For what it's worth, I recently did small study of the ads that on-line news sites have. With the Express, of 45 objects blocked, 40 were ads/trackers...

  • camieabz
  • 10 days ago

BT is already one of the most expensive providers and yet want to rise their prices yet again. Price of getting broadband in this country is over the top now, getting to stupid price and yet the quality of the service is getting worse not better.

  • zyborg47
  • 10 days ago

BT is already one of the most expensive providers and yet want to rise their prices yet again. Price of getting broadband in this country is over the top now, getting to stupid price and yet the quality of the service is getting worse not better.

  • zyborg47
  • 10 days ago

@zyborg - there appears to be a conflict in your comments. Service is partly getting worse because the copper network is getting outdated. Network needs updating which requires investment. Updating network to fibre can provide faster more reliable services. Without additional charges the upgrade will never happen. I am assuming the additional cost would be on wholesale/OpenReach for FTTP and so only when someone upgrades and applicable to all ISPs that use BT infrastructure not just BT Retail. Other ISPs will only sell FTTP once numbers are up - that won't happen until more FTTP is installed.

  • ian72
  • 10 days ago

@ian72 - how does the copper network mean that the service is getting worse? It might mean it’s not getting better but I don’t see how it gets progressively worse which is what your statement suggests.

Also, it’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. Service gets better with investment but investment is usually prompted by uptake, but uptake is lower if service is bad. Notice the article cites shareholders and dividends. BT is a massively profitable company but one that pays its shareholders a lot of money and invests a fraction back into things like customer services.

  • Syphadeus
  • 10 days ago

People who think an extra £84/year is too much for the potential of practically unlimited speeds and greater reliability deserve to be stuck on dodgy copper lines, some distance from their cabinet or exchange - which would help concentrate their minds.

  • Spud2003
  • 9 days ago

@syphadeus The joints and copper cable will slowly degrade over time and BT are going to invest a limited amount in maintaining it. Many cables have been in the ground for decades and weather and water ingress will degrade the network.

  • ian72
  • 9 days ago

While I'd agree that there is potential for joints to degrade, the copper cable itself unless subject to physical stress, e.g. tree branches should not degrade, hence why copper artefacts are dug up on archaeology digs a bit dented but otherwise intact.

For overhead cable, tree branches can and will still be a problem for fibre, as are things like rodents chewing in duct cabling.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 9 days ago

£80 a year? I'd be happy to pay £1000/year for FTTP if it meant I wouldn't have to worry about bandwidth issues when using cloud storage or VoIP on our <5Mpbs ADSLMax line. If I'd put spent all this time digging a trench instead of trying to dig information/answers out of SuperFast Scotland/BT about whether we are indeed included in the rollout plans in the near future, and why we can't participate in the Community Broadband scheme, I would be FTTP ready by now.

Instead I wait - seems like there is little else I can do.

  • Tolq
  • 9 days ago

@ian72

Copper joints only degrade if exposed to water, and are relatively easy to remake. These days, there are much better materials for waterproofing joints. When I had a buried joint replaced, the new one was encased in a waterproof container, and not just taped.

Modern cable insulation is robust and doesn't notably degrade over time. Some older cables can fail, but it's much less likely on newer ones. In general, copper performance doesn't really degrade over time. Loss of speed is generally due to more cross-talk with increased take-up/

  • TheEulerID
  • 9 days ago

I should add overhead cables, and especially drop-wires do seem to degrade more due to exposure to weather and being battered about by wind. Drop cables get replaced from time to time but, again, I think newer stuff is much more robust. Failures tend to be major rather than a gradual loss of throughput.

  • TheEulerID
  • 9 days ago

So the upshot is that Zyborg's comment isn't relevant around reducing quality of service (as if it isn't the copper degrading then it must be the support which would be no different with fibre). So, the only benefit of fibre is higher speeds and "most" people won't pay more for that. I wonder why BT have a hard time building a case for investment? Most people I know outside of IT (and some in IT) don't know how fast their line is and wouldn't pay more even if they could get faster. Different if a really slow line but if getting 40+ most people don't care.

  • ian72
  • 9 days ago

Hi Broadband Watchers.
When I was involved with three X bar Exchanges total customers 7k all the copper lines were checked for insulation ever month plus the router controls and registers would reject lines that did not pass would be parked this stopped internal congestion under all weather conditions. All these faults had a set priority and cleared by either UG overhead or customer staff.

  • Blackmamba
  • 9 days ago

@Spud2003, not everyone needs unlimited speed, I would spend less to go to a lower speed, even if I could get 79Mbs or any where near it I would not pay for it. I think paying £31 a month for 30Mbs is far too much
@ian72, sadly we end up paying more and getting no more for it. I have a fault that BTOR can not fix as they have no idea what the problem is. The only reason I am on line now is because I am using a different router/modem combination to what Plusnet would normally send.

  • zyborg47
  • 9 days ago

@zyborg I think I have seen posts by you about your fault. However, there will always be a percentage of customers with faults and some faults can be difficult to diagnose. That doesn't necessarily mean service is generally getting worse but it does mean it is worse for you. Personally my line has been stable ever since I got it so I have seen no deterioration in service over a number of years. I would also pay more for higher speeds but it isn't an option for me at the moment.

  • ian72
  • 8 days ago

@ian72

In principle fibre ought to be more intrinsically reliable in that it's less prone to water ingress and corrosion. Also, joints on fibre have traditionally been made by fusing the fibre. In theory that should mean fewer failures and intermittent faults. However, I'm not sure about the newer type of connectorised fibres systems and if there is a problem with a fibre connection it is not so straightforward to diagnose. It's much easier to make & break copper connections and put test signals down them for example.

Time will eventually tell.

  • TheEulerID
  • 7 days ago

I think we're safe to ignite anything the Express has to say on the subject. Only a few months ago they were saying bills were due to plummet.
https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/786302/ofcom-bt-broadband-bills-fall-openreach-fibre-network

  • ribble
  • 7 days ago

On this or indeed any other subject.

  • CarlThomas
  • 4 days ago

Why do company's like BT insist you have to have a phone-line and pay £19 a month on top of the BB package the majority never use their line for anything else but BB and any contact is by email. A charge for a phone-line is outdated, as is a phone number if you have absolutely no intention of using the line for anything but BB and don't intend to have a phone connected to the line.

I say scrap line rental altogether, by all means, charge more for calls but don't hit BB users all the time.

  • wildthing666
  • 4 days ago

The broadband and line rental pricing have been merged together for a year already, so when you see an offer for Infinity 1 for £29.99/m that is the total monthly cost, no phone line to add.

Onto question, you can have no line rental if you don't use a phone line to deliver the broadband, or put another they could call it a broadband line and you buy broadband, but you will find the price won't go down (in fact it may go up)

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 4 days ago

Relative deterioration is based on wrong info as fibre cables also degrade.

That may be because it hasnt been used for consumers for 100 years unlike copper pairs...

Nominal life for a multi core fibre in a duct is 25 years from the manufacturer.
- major failure types seen are stress cracks, joint damage, and hydrogen ion ingress (which is water getting thru the sheath and affecting clarity of the glass)
Some of those are more likely in blown fibre as no gel, kevlar etc

How you use a cable will affect the life - eg aerial suspension & swinging in the wind will promote stress cracks.

  • stephenhope
  • 4 days ago

What about all those miles of aluminium? This suffers from degradation through oxidisation, joint failure (far more brittle) and inherently bad speeds with massive loss on high frequencies, Very little chance that will be replaced before ramping up prices again.
Another issue will be all of us stuck on market A exchanges, no competition no chance to shop around for good deals. Adding seven pounds a month onto an already higher than most charge for a substandard speed (<2.5Mbps) Will really stick in my craw.

  • Necroscope445
  • 3 days ago

If the real proposal (and not so far its only a £7 figure from Ofcom CEO speech) is £7 extra per month, its not going to be levied on those with older services, i.e. the £7 extra would only be for the full fibre service itself.

So FTTC 50 Mbps service might be £31.99 per month but equivalent 50 Mbps FTTP service would be £38.99 per month.

Getting a £7/m levy through on all broadband lines would fail.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • 3 days ago

Post a comment

Login Register