Virgin Media has announced it is raising prices for five million broadband, phone, and TV customers by an average of 4.5% from October and November.
The telecoms provider will be writing to affected customers between now and the end of September to inform them of the hikes. Under Ofcom rules, customers have 30 days from receiving notice of the price increases to exit their contracts without penalty.
Virgin Broadband-only and broadband plus line rental customers will see their monthly telecoms bills rise by £3 per month, or £36 per year. Those on Virgin’s broadband and TV bundles, Mix and Fun, will see price increases of up to £3.50 a month or £42 a year. And customers currently subscribed to Virgin’s Full House bundle, with 100 Mbps broadband and 230 television channels, will see a hike of £4 per month or £48 a year.
Virgin says this year’s price increase is “lower” than last year’s, when prices rose an average of 4.7% across broadband and TV packages.
"Increasing prices is not a decision which we take lightly. We work hard to keep our prices competitive while continuing to invest in our network and improve the services we offer our customers,” a Virgin Media spokesperson said.
Virgin attributed cost increases to heavier broadband uses from customers. Virgin said broadband usage on their network increased by nearly 40% over the last year, with 60% of total traffic now coming from data-intensive video streaming, and that part of the cost increase was due to network upgrades necessary to support this traffic.
Virgin said they had invested around a billion pounds in their network over the last year, including delivering speeds of 362 Mbps, the fastest widely-available domestic broadband in the UK, through the Vivid 350 broadband package.
Virgin pointed out that under new Ofcom rules requiring ISPs to advertise “average” broadband speeds rather than “up to speeds” that were only achieved by 10% of customers, Virgin is the only provider to see its advertised speeds increase. Its Vivid 100 broadband comes with average speeds of 108 Mbps, for example.
Virgin also attribute the increase to other technology upgrades, including the rollout of its V6 TV box and Hub 3.0 router, and the recent 300% increase of business rates on broadband networks.
However, Virgin stressed that the price hikes have nothing to do with the deal recently reached with UKTV to restore the broadcaster’s channels to its TV boxes, following a dispute about payments between the two companies in July.
"Giving our customers an amazing service with the best connectivity, great programming – from exclusive entertainment to 4K UHD sport - and innovative new upgrades is something we’re committed to – and we’ll be delivering even more of this during the coming year,” Virgin said.
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