Millions have seen their broadband bills rise by 14.4% - here's what you can do

Fibre broadband deals
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

On 31 March and 1 April, many of the UK's broadband providers increased their prices by as much as 14.4%. As a result, some customers are now paying £10 per month more for their broadband deal than they were a month ago.

This change affects millions of BT, EE, Plusnet, Shell, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone customers. If you haven't noticed a change and one of these companies provides your broadband, we recommend that you check your bill and your contract immediately. 

Thankfully, it's estimated that around 11 million UK consumers who are currently out of contract could dodge these price hikes by switching to a new deal. The best way of doing this is by heading to our best broadband deals page today. Here you can find all the best deals in your area from the country's leading providers. 

Alternatively, simply put your postcode into the widget at the base of this page and we'll show you exactly what's available in your area. 

Why can broadband providers increase their prices? 

The news that broadband costs are spiralling is particularly unwelcome in the middle of a cost of living crisis and many have criticised the move. In fact, the price rises are set to be investigated by regulator Ofcom. 

However, the current rules state that providers can increase their prices mid-contract by the rate of inflation plus an extra amount on top, which is usually around four percentage points. This is set out in each provider's terms and conditions, which you should read before you sign your contract. 

Usually, the rate of inflation is only a couple of percentage points. This means that providers increase their prices by between 3% and 5% each April. Often, this isn't particularly noticeable and only results in bills costing a couple of pounds more. However, this year the rate of inflations was a whopping 10.5%. This means that some providers have been able to raise their prices by as much as 14.4%.  

For their part, providers have announced that they need to raise their prices by more than 10% because their underlying and operating costs have increased significantly over the past year. Several also said that regulatory requirements, higher energy prices and increased network costs had left them with no choice. 

How much have prices risen by? 

Almost all of the country's biggest broadband providers calculate potential price rises using either the December consumer prices index (CPI) or the January retail prices index (RPI) rate of inflation. Both of these figures were published earlier this year and customers were given notice of how much their bills would increase by. 

With this in mind, here's a rundown of exactly how much each of the major providers has increased their prices by this spring: 

  • BT - 14.4% 
  • EE - 14.4% 
  • Plusnet - 14.4%
  • Vodafone - Up to 14.4%
  • TalkTalk - Up to 14.2%
  • Gigaclear - 14%
  • Virgin Media - 13.8% on average
  • Shell Energy Broadband - Up to 13.5%
  • Community Fibre - 13.4%
  • Sky - 8.1% on average 

Thankfully, some providers have announced that they will not be raising their prices this year. These providers include: 

  • Hyperoptic
  • Cuckoo
  • Zen Internet
  • Utility Warehouse
  • Voneus

In addition to this, NOW Broadband also announced that the company wasn't raising its prices in 2023, despite being owned by Sky. However, the company has written to customers to let them know the cost of calls made with their home phone will be going up from 1 May 2023. Customers who are unhappy with this are free to leave their contract early by giving 30 days' notice. 

I'm out of contract, do I have to pay the higher price? 

As a result of the recent price increases, the above companies are now providing broadband services to millions of customers who are out of contract. These customers have simply been rolled onto a much pricier tariff that they never signed up for. 

If you're supplied by one of the above providers and you're out of contract, then the good news is that you can now leave that supplier without paying a penalty. 

Historically, the best broadband deals have always been saved for switchers anyway, so it's likely you could have already saved by moving to a new provider. Now, this is truer than ever. 

To find out exactly how much you could save, benchmark the prices elsewhere using the widget at the bottom of this page. If you find a deal you like, you could switch in only a couple of minutes. To make matters even easier, a lot of providers will even handle the switching process for you (you'll need to check this with them before you sign up). 

Alternatively, if you like your current provider and you'd ideally like to stay with them, benchmark prices anyway and then try to haggle with them. Companies like Virgin Media, Sky and TalkTalk have a reputation for their customer service and if you're out of contract then they may be willing to match a price you've seen elsewhere. It's important to stress they're under no obligation to do this, but it's worth a try if you'd rather stay. 

I'm within my contract, do I have to pay the new price? 

If you're within your current contract, it's more than likely that the price rises mentioned above have been spelt out in the terms and conditions of your deal. In most cases, this means that you cannot leave your contract without paying a penalty. Often, this isn't worthwhile because you'd need to pay more to exit the contract than you'd save by switching provider. 

If this is the case for you, we recommend that you make a note of when your contract is due to end. At this point, you can then switch to a new deal. 

However, if you signed up to your contract in 2023, then you may find that these price rises do not apply to you. This is because some providers have made recent signees exempt from the changes. For example, Vodafone customers who signed up on or after 24 February 2023 will not experience price rises until April 2024. To find out whether this applies to you, you'll need to check the terms of your contract and keep an eye on your bill. 

Similarly, there were two other exceptions to this rule. Both Sky and Virgin Media customers could have left their contracts without paying a penalty. However, they had to move to a new deal within 30 days of being given notice about the price rises, and this window has now passed. 

How do I find a new broadband deal? 

If you're currently out of contract then there couldn't be a better opportunity to switch to a new provider and save money. 

If you're ready to switch, then you'll be pleased to hear that the process is simple and can be completed in only a couple of minutes. Simply use our widget below to see exactly what broadband is available for your property in only a couple of clicks. 

Alternatively, head over to our top broadband deals page and we'll show you all of the best deals in your area. Here we've also answered a number of popular user queries. This means you'll find it easy to pick the best deal for your needs. 

Tom Brook

Tom is a freelance copywriter and content marketer with over a decade of experience. Originally from an agency background, he is proud to have worked on campaigns for a number of energy providers, comparison sites and consumer brands.