Sky internet and pay TV customers should expect to pay more for their entertainment and connectivity from Monday 1 April, as the telecoms provider preps for its annual price hike.
Sky has updated the terms and conditions on its website to warn customers of the hike on its Entertainment, Broadband Unlimited, and Fibre Max packages.
The amount of the rise is not yet known, but in the past Sky has increased the monthly fee on its broadband and phone bundles by £1 to £1.50 a month. An increase matching previous years’ would bring the cost of Sky’s Fibre Max plan, with average download speeds of 63 Mbps, to £28 or £28.50 per month on a 18 month contract—a 3.5% or 5.5% increase. Stand-alone TV subscribers and bundlers will also see an uptick in their Sky bills.
Under Ofcom regulations, Sky customers in contract trying to avoid the April price hike can exit their contract penalty free within 30 days of receiving notification of the price increase. But they should be aware that many other broadband providers will also be raising prices.
Price rices from broadband and pay TV providers are partly a result of an arms race among them to deliver new compelling content and technologically-advance services. Additionally, their costs have risen has consumers’ appetite for data has increased. Ofcom’s Connected Nations report found that in 2018, households used an average of 240GB of internet a month, the equivalent of downloading 160 films, and a 26% increase from the 190GB they used in 2017.
Additionally, telecoms companies are facing increasing costs from new regulation and policies, including the automatic compensation scheme for broadband users. In December, Sky was one of five major internet providers to sign on to Ofcom’s voluntary compensation scheme, which will give customers £8 a day for any outage that isn’t fixed within two days. At the time the scheme was introduced, it was expected ISPs would pass the cost onto customers, via price hikes.
The regulator is also requiring broadband providers to issue end-of-contract notification letters, to eliminate the so-called loyalty penalty and impel more customers to switch rather than being reverted to expensive out-of-contract pricing.
A recent Which? survey found that four in 10 subscribers to broadband and TV bundles have stuck with the same provider for more than a decade, and are likely out of contract and potentially overpaying hundreds of pounds a year. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last year issued a series of recommendation to eliminate a loyalty penalty they say is adding £1 billion to Britain’s collective internet bills, and Ofcom has taken action, reviewing broadband pricing and requiring ISPs to communicate pricing schedules more clearly to customers.
But industry experts have cautioned that the cost of many of these measures will be felt on consumers’ bills.
Customers out of contract with Sky can dodge the price hike by switching at any time, and also avoid the £700 a year penalty TV and broadband subscribers pay for sticking with the provider on out-of-contract prices.