Broadband pricing can be misleading, says Ofcom research

The way your home broadband contract is being priced is misleading and may cost a lot more than you think it will, says a research commissioned by Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The research detailed out how broadband service providers levy a plethora of hidden costs during the purchase process and during the lifetime of your contract, making it a lot more expensive than you intended to bear.

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Revealed by, the research found that only 23 per cent of participants were able to correctly guess the monthly cost of a broadband contract after viewing an ad. An astounding 81 per cent couldn't calculate the total cost of a contract either and 74 per cent believed that information regarding ongoing costs after introductory periods were very unclear.

Thanks to the research, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will ask broadband service providers to come clean about hidden costs, not to separate line rental cost from monthly cost and let consumers know about up-front costs. ASA will also release new recommendations on broadband pricing by 30 May 2016.

"It comes as no surprise that the ASA and Ofcom’s research has uncovered the demoralising extent to which broadband providers lure consumers with confusing compound pricing structures, and yet, it remains to be seen whether a sufficiently effective solution will be called upon.

“The ASA’s findings focus on line rental as the primary issue. But the confusion around broadband package advertising does not solely exist because line rental is separated out – there are a plethora of additional hidden costs levied both during the purchase process and the lifetime of the contract," said Dan Howdle, telecoms expert at

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Even though ASA's recommendations will go some way to address broadband billing issues, consumers will also need to double check what they are paying for and if they're aware of all types of costs that come with a contract.

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