LONDON (Reuters) – Broadband providers in Britain will have to tell customers about their best deals under the planned new rules from telecoms regulator Ofcom focuses on the approach of a ‘loyalty penalty’ that makes it difficult for long-term customers and get the cheapest package.
Ofcom said on Friday it would review broadband companies’ pricing practices to examine why some customers paid more than others, and or vulnerable customers require additional protection to ensure that they have a good deal.
The proposed new rules would allow broadband companies and mobile, fixed telephone and pay-TV providers to alert customers about the best deal or ‘rate’ they can offer any discount deal comes to an end and also each year for long-term customers.
Providers include BT, Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk.
Ofcom says that 94 percent of the british homes and office could get superfast broadband, but fewer than half of them had taken, and about 4 million households with old-style, basic broadband were no longer in their first contract period and could switch to the superfast for the same or less money than they currently pay.
“We are concerned that many loyal broadband customers are not getting the best deal they could,” Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White said.
“So we review of broadband pricing and allowing customers to get a clear, accurate information from the provider of the height of the best deals that they offer.”
TalkTalk said it welcomed Ofcom’s action.
It said it had introduced low-price plans, and was actively promoted to both existing and new customers.
“In two years, we have reduced the gap between new and existing customers pay only 1-2 pounds ($2.52) per month, while the average gap in the rest of the market and has grown to 13-15 pounds,” TalkTalk Chief Executive Tristia Harrison said.
Ultra-fast broadband offers a download speed of at least 30 Mbits per second, while super-fast broadband, typically delivered via fiber optic connections in the home, offers speeds of at least 300 Mbits per second.
Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by raissa Kasolowsky and Susan Fenton