RESEARCH by Simplifydigital.com, the Ofcom-accredited advisory service for TV, broadband and phone deals, shows just how important your postcode is in determining how much you are likely to be charged for your broadband service.
Customers in the best-served postcodes in the UK face paying an average of just £8.40 per month (excluding line rental) for their broadband services, which is almost half the price faced on average by customers in the poorest served postcodes, where prices average £16.26 for broadband services.
Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Simplifydigital.com, commented:
“Our research starts to quantify what many of us already know, namely that the price of broadband varies depending on where you live – and the variations are very significant with those of us unlucky enough to live in the poorest served postcodes faced with bills over twice as high as those in the best served areas.”
The majority of the most expensive broadband postcodes are in rural areas, many of which are some of the poorest areas in the UK, with examples including:
Ave. broadband price*
|Rural Scotland (Forres)||IV36 1LF||£14.58|
|Tees Valley (Hesleden)||TS27 4PH||£14.70|
|Cumbria (Gretna)||DG16 5DB||£14.70|
|East Midlands (Boston)||PE21 0EY||£14.58|
|West Midlands (Bewdley)||DY12 2UE||£14.58|
|Northern Ireland (Ballytromery)||BT29 4PY||£14.70|
|Cornwall (Liskeard)||PL14 4HT||£16.26|
|South East (Tenterden)||TN30 7AU||£14.70|
|West Wales (Holyhead)||LL65 1PA||£14.58|
* Average broadband price excludes line rental from survey of leading UK DSL broadband providers offering broadband services at this postcode. Prices surveyed 22/6/11. Providers surveyed include: BT, O2, Orange, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk
Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Simplifydigital.com, continued:
“Unfortunately, many of the UK’s poorest areas are on average also among the most expensive areas for broadband services, putting extra pressure on households with limited incomes.”
In contrast postcodes such as TS10 1RX in Redcar; LL19 8DH in Prestatyn and LE12 7BZ in Mount Sorrel all enjoy average broadband costs of £8.40 per month.
Why do broadband costs vary so much?
Says a spokesperson: “Broadband costs vary significantly depending on whether the ISPs (broadband providers) have installed equipment in the local telephone exchange which allows them to provide cheap DSL broadband services.
“Under the process know as Local Loop Unbundling (LLU) broadband providers such as TalkTalk, Sky, O2 and others have selected telephone exchanges within which to place their own equipment so that they do not have to provide broadband services via BT Wholesale. Unfortunately. ISPs only choose to invest in telephone exchanges where they know that they will make a return. As a result, rural and poorer postcodes may not meet the investment criteria.
“In these postcodes (know in the trade as ‘off-net’ areas), the economics do not allow the competing broadband providers to offer broadband deals as cheap as in the unbundled exchanges (known as ‘on-net’ areas). The on-net areas are shown in the map below as Ofcom Market 3 areas and the off-net areas as Market 1 and 2 areas.
“To add insult to injury, ‘off-net’ broadband services generally offer lower broadband speeds relative to their ‘on-net’ sister products, meaning that customers are faced with paying more money for slower average broadband speeds.”
What can customers do about it?
The spokesperson continued: “Whatever postcode you live in, it is very important to shop around for broadband deals, using an Ofcom accredited broadband pricing checker such as Simplifydigital’s at www.simplifydigital.com. Also, as prices and deals on offer change as ISPs extend their LLU footprint, it is worth regularly checking to see if better deals are now available at your postcode.
“In addition, it is strongly recommended that you bundle your services from a single provider. Broadband and home phone is the most common bundle, but many customers also choose to bundle in their digital TV for the biggest savings.
“Indeed, Simplifydigital.com research shows that 83 per cent of customers save money by bundling their services from a single provider, with the top 20 per cent saving over £400 a year and the top ten per cent saving a staggering £550 a year**.
Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of Simplifydigital.com, concluded:
“Where ever you live, we strongly recommend that customers regularly use an Ofcom accredited broadband price checker, such as our own, to check that they are on the best deal. And to ensure the biggest savings possible, customers always consider bundling their home phone and digital TV with their broadband.”
Notes to editors:
* Simplifydigital.com data based on 1,538 records between Jan 1st to Nov 8th 2010
Simplifydigital.com offers a free and impartial ‘Switching Support’ service for anyone looking to get a digital TV, broadband or phone package.
Its London-based impartial experts are available for free over the phone, to answer all those tricky questions and match the family’s needs to the best deal available.
Simplifydigital.com’s experts are available for free on 0800 1 388 388 seven days a week (Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Saturday 9am-5:30pm; Sunday 10-5:30pm).
You can also use Simplifydigital.com’s Ofcom-accredited comparison engine online at www.simplifydigital.com.
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