Save, make, understand money

Household Bills

Are you overpaying £100s on your ‘cheap’ broadband deal?

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Broadband customers could be paying more than £100 each month in fees on ‘cheap’ deals which come with data caps.

While most broadband packages come with unlimited data, a survey has revealed that nearly two million people are on a capped package, meaning they could end up paying expensive fees if they go over their allowance.

Many cheaper broadband packages now feature data limits of between 5-25GB (TenTel offers a package with a data cap of 5GB, while BT has cheap fibre products with a 25GB allowance) but the charge for exceeding a data limit can cost between £1.50 – £1.80 per GB.

Research from comparison website Broadband Genie found in some cases, the penalty for exceeding a limit is not immediately clear, with the details vaguely worded or buried in small print.

It also found that capped deals were sometimes bundled with TV packages offering streaming and catch-up, which can count towards the data limit.

A single HD film can consume gigabytes of data, so broadband consumers seeking to control costs with a cheaper limited package may quickly eat through their allowance and be hit with additional fees, speed limits or find themselves moved to a pricier service.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom found that the average household used 82GB of data a month in 2015, up from 58GB in 2014 so Broadband Genie estimates that if an average household took BT’s standard broadband package with a 12GB data cap, they could face fees of over £100 per month.

Rob Hilborn, head of strategy at Broadband Genie, said: “While these packages may suit the needs of select customers, for your average user they’re not fit for purpose and likely to end up more expensive and restrictive than an unlimited package.

“It’s concerning that key information is being buried in the small print, as we all know most don’t read terms and conditions. We would like to see this vital information more clearly displayed so customers are aware of the risks and can make an informed decision, not one simply based on the supposedly cheaper offering.

“If you’re at all worried that your chosen package may not have enough data, we would always recommend opting for an unlimited service for peace of mind. Going over your limit by a few GB will wipe out any financial benefit of the cheaper capped package.”