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Broadband Provider Gigaclear Freezes Prices for 18 Months—But Will Hand Down Annual Hikes from 2023

Rural-focused full-fibre broadband provider Gigaclear will freeze bills for customers until October 2023. But the catch is that from that date, prices will rise annually in line with inflation.

Gigaclear says it won’t increase bills for the next 18 months to help customers through the cost of living crisis.

“Both new and existing customers will not see a rise in prices until October 2023 at the earliest,” the ISP said.

Gigaclear's full-fibre network reaches 250,000 mostly rural premises. The independent broadband provider aims to reach another 250,000 by the end of 2023, a £190 million rollout co-financed by the government's new UK Infrastructure Bank.

Under a discount now live, Gigaclear is offering symmetrical 200Mbps broadband packages on 18-month terms for just £17 per month (£40 thereafter). Gigaclear's top speed tier, 830Mbps, currently costs £49 per month (£79 thereafter). Gigaclear appears to be fixing all those prices for the next 18 months.

Nick Rawlings, Chief Marketing Officer at Gigaclear, said: “Gigaclear has built its ultrafast, full-fibre broadband network to some of the most underserviced areas of the country, areas that had been failed by other providers.

“Now prices with the big ISPs are sky-rocketing and the cost of living is on the up, we have responded by taking the stress away from our customers by fixing our prices at a fair level. This is the lowest rate we’ve ever gone to for our full-fibre packages, and we are committed to continuing to provide our customers with great value for money.”

Gigaclear is correct that other telecoms providers are handing down steep price hikes this spring after writing inflation-linked annual price adjustments into their contracts over the last few years. With inflation at its highest level in decades, the price hikes are particularly onerous this year. 

For example, BT Group members, including BT, Plusnet, mobile operator EE, and EE Broadband, will hike bills by 9.3% on 31 March. Vodafone will hand down a similar 9.3% price increase on 1 April, and TalkTalk will push up bills by 9.1% on the same day. Some O2 and Virgin Mobile customers will see even harsher price hikes—11.7% from April.

But the fine print on Gigaclear’s website reveals that the ISP is planning similar inflation-linked price hikes in the future: 

“Price Freeze – the advertised monthly prices will not increase in 2022 but on or after the 1st October every year from October 2023 we’ll increase the monthly price of your broadband Service by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published by the Office for National Statistics in July of that year plus 3.5%.”

We don't know what the CPI will be in July of next year. The Bank of England had hoped that inflation would subside later this year. But with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roiling energy markets, inflation could get worse before it gets better. That could mean even more onerous price hikes from broadband and mobile providers, including Gigaclear, next year.

Gigaclear isn't the only broadband provider giving its customers a (temporary) reprieve from price increases. Hull-area provider KCOM announced earlier this year that it would cancel the CPI + 3.9% price hike it had scheduled for March.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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