Wednesday, 23 March 2011

BT set to increase their call charges by 9%

BT has announced that from the end of April it will increase the charges that it makes for calls by a whopping 9% and by 30p the charge that it makes for standard line rentals.

BT will inform customers of the new charges by letter which follows the higher charges announced last October when they increased call charges by 10% and line rentals by 50p.

Customers on certain packages will not be affected by the new price rises.

What this means in real terms is that a 10 minute call will go up from 70p (7ppm) to 76p (7.6ppm).

BT has also announced that 75% of calls made on their networks are free as a result of people signing up to calling packages and that millions of people have signed up to their Unlimited Any Time Plans.

Without sounding cynical it just seems to be another way to get people to sign up to plans that they will be locked into for long periods of time, that they do not need and probably will not benefit from.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ofcom update: Proposals to ban automatically renewable contracts

Ofcom has set out proposals to ban automatically renewable contracts that tie consumers with landlines into repeated minimum contract periods unless they opt-out.

Ofcom is concerned that rollover contracts make it harder for customers to switch providers and consequently reduce the benefits of competitive choice.

These contracts are currently offered by BT and several other smaller companies to residential and business users of landline services and automatically roll the customer forward to a new minimum period contract unless the customer actively opts out of the automatic rollover.

Ofcom is proposing to amend existing rules to prohibt opt-out contract renewals in any form in the landline and broadband sectors. If Ofcom proceeds with its proposals then any provider who continues to offer this type of contract could face enforcement action including a financial penalty of up to 10% of turnover.

Ofcom has powers under sections 45- 47 and 51 of the Communications Act 2003 to set rules governing how Communications Providers are allowed to provide their services to members of the public. These rules are known as “General Conditions”.

Read the full release of the Ofcom proposal
The Ofcom consultation document can be found here

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Ofcom update: Ofcom publishes latest broadband speeds research

Ofcom today published its latest broadband speeds research which shows that the average broadband speed is now 6.2Mbit/s but is still less than half (45 per cent) of the average advertised broadband speed of 13.8Mbit/s.

In it's Executive summary Ofcom mentions that: In the last decade internet access speeds across the UK have increased as consumers have migrated from dial-up to broadband and ISPs have offered packages at higher advertised 'up to' speeds. The next phase of this evolution is now getting under way as operators invest in superfast broadband services. It is therefore becoming more important than ever for consumers to have reliable and accurate information on how different broadband services perform otherwise consumers may not be able to make an informed choice about which broadband service is most suitable for them.

Summary of average download speed by ISP package, November/December 2010 (multi-thread tests)

Source: SamKnows measurement data for all panel members with a connection in November/ December 2010
*Caution: Small sample size (<50)
** Results should be treated with some caution as normalisation may not be as effective for O2/Be due to the lower incidence of panellists with longer than average line lengths
Panel Base: 1081
Notes: (1) Only includes ADSL customers within 5km of the exchange and in Geographic Markets 2 and 3 ; (2) Includes on-net customers only for LLU operators (3) Data for ADSL operators have been weighted to ISP regional coverage of LLU lines and distance from exchange; data for Virgin Media's cable service have been weighted to regional coverage only; (4) Data collected from multi-thread download speed tests; (5) The range shown represents a 95% confidence interval around the mean

Ofcom also published its response to the Committee for Advertising Practice (CAP) and Broadcast Committee for Advertising Practice (BCAP) consultation on broadband advertising. Ofcom is recommending that if speeds are used in broadband advertising they should based on a Typical Speeds Range so that consumers have a clearer idea of what speeds to expect.

The full research can be found here: Broadband speeds November - December 2010