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The cost of living crisis could be about to get even worse in the coming months with experts warning that millions of broadband customers are facing record-breaking price rises. In fact, it’s predicted that some bills could go up by as much as 13.9 percent in the spring. If that shock rise becomes a reality it would add over £5 to a £40 per month bill or over £8 for anyone who currently pays £60 per month for internet access.
These hikes can’t come at a worse time for consumers with energy costs also expected to go up again in April along with ever-increasing mortgage and food costs.
The reason things are likely to be so excessive in 2023 is due to the way many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) work out their hikes. Firms including BT, Vodafone and Plusnet all use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate any upcoming rises.
Right now the CPI rate is around 10 percent – that’s double what it was in January 2022. Upcoming increases for a vast number of users are based on that figure plus a standard rate from the ISP.
For example, BT will almost certainly hit its users with a CPI increase plus an additional 3.9 percent on top. If things stay at their current level it will mean customers see around 14 percent being added to their monthly bills.
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Explaining more, BT said: “Each year, we adjust the prices of some of our products and services in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rate of inflation, plus 3.9%.”
EE, TalkTalk, Plusnet, Vodafone and John Lewis broadband users also face similar unwanted hikes.
Those who use broadband supplied by Virgin Media and Sky could also be hit by higher prices although these two ISPs work things out differently so it’s currently unclear how big the increases will be.
It’s a major concern for consumers with Citizens Advice saying that broadband customers facing price hikes have already cut back on everyday essentials such as food, energy and clothing.
With mobile and broadband internet being an essential utility, relied upon by many for employment, managing benefits and staying in touch with loved ones, Citizens Advice is warning that access must remain affordable.
It is now calling for providers to axe these price rises, which it predicts could cost consumers £2.5 billion extra in 2023.
Speaking about the upcoming hikes, Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Every day our advisers hear from people barely making ends meet as they try to cope with inflation and soaring household bills.
“As we all pull together in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, mobile and broadband providers should be finding every way possible to help people.
“We want to see them cancel mid-contract price rises this year. Ofcom and the government should then look to protect consumers from future ones.”
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