Budget broadband provider TalkTalk has been notifying customers via email of a pending 9.1% bill hike, handed down in response to soaring inflation.
Last year, TalkTalk, along with several other broadband providers, wrote a provision into its contracts for annual, inflation-linked price hikes. Under those new terms, TalkTalk will raise prices each April by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) published in January plus 3.7%.
The CPI rate published in January was 5.4%, suggesting that TalkTalk’s price hike would be 9.1%, in effect from 1 April.
The ISP has now confirmed that bill increase in emails to customers, saying it has reacted to increased customer appetite for connectivity.
“Broadband usage has soared with more working from home, online learning and gaming than ever. We have continued to invest in our network to ensure we provide all our customers with a great value connection today and in the future,” TalkTalk wrote.
That investment has included making gigabit-capable broadband connections available in some areas.
The 9.1% price hike will increase the cost of TalkTalk’s standard Fibre 65 package by £2.01 per month.
Because the bill adjustment was written into your contract, you won’t be able to duck out without penalty if you’re still within your minimum term. However, if you’re one of the estimated 35% of broadband subscribers out of contract with your ISP, you can move at any time and probably find a cheaper rate by doing so.
TalkTalk isn’t alone in increasing bills this spring amid a massive growth in broadband traffic and the highest inflation in 30 years. Customers of BT Group brands (ISPs BT, Plusnet, and EE Broadband and mobile operators EE) will see their bills rise by 5.4% from Thursday, while O2 and Virgin Mobile will hike prices by 11.7% from Friday.
Sky hasn’t written inflation-linked price hikes into its contracts but from April will charge its broadband customers up to £43 more per year. Meanwhile, Netflix is increasing the cost of its streaming plans by up to £2 per month, including making its first adjustment to the price of its basic plan in a decade. it's all adding to the burden on households also facing tough price hikes at the supermarket and energy meter.
Even before the recent prices hikes, up to one in five UK households struggled to afford telecoms services in 2021, Ofcom found. Consumers have been forced to cancel services or cut back on spending on food and clothing so they can keep the connectivity now essential for work and education.
And, of course, these telecoms price hikes come at the same time the price cap limiting the gas and electricity bills of millions of customers is raised by £693 per year, compounding the pain for families.
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