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Data charges could cost broadband customers £140m a year - TalkTalk

Tuesday, August 18th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Broadband customers could be paying out millions of pounds in charges for exceeding their data usage, TalkTalk has claimed.

The broadband provider has calculated that customers could be handing £140m to internet providers selling packages with data limits that are no longer suitable for people’s usage levels.

The figures are based on a calculation using the findings of a YouGov survey that revealed the average charge for exceeding data usage in a month is £11.30.

TalkTalk, which offers uncapped data, said its rivals should follow its lead and do away with capped packages.

It cited Ofcom research that showed the average UK household uses 58GB of data each month – much more than the 10-40GB monthly limited offered in most packages.

It also referred to the recently-published Ofcom Communications report, which said 10GB a month was not sufficient for most households and the regulator’s Infrastructure Report 2014, which found the average data use over a fixed broadband connection was 58GB per month in 2014.

TalkTalk said that 86% of capped broadband customers said no-one in their household keeps track of their data usage and a quarter (25%) who go over their limits say they aren’t offered a plan that matches their requirements.

In the past year alone it has seen downloads increase by more than 50%, so the cost of going over imposed caps will only spiral in line with data demands, it said.

TalkTalk used BT’s standard broadband package as an example, saying data caps could mean an extra £72 in charges a month for those who use the average of 58GB.

'Outdated and unfair'

Tristia Harrison, TalkTalk’s managing director for consumer, said: “Our research shows that for almost half the population, internet connectivity is on a par with other essential utilities like water and electricity.

“As our dependence increases and more and more of our appliances and gadgets connect us to the things we love, the practice of capping broadband data usage is clearly outdated and unfair.

“At TalkTalk, we are proud to be the only provider to offer 100% totally unlimited broadband as standard, with no download limits, and we'd like to see other providers follow our lead by bringing an end to these unfair caps.”

TalkTalk’s claims come as it announced its Simply Broadband package will offer unlimited internet free for 18 months.

But BT said most people who opt for limited broadband deals do so because they use less data, and only a small percentage of customers exceed their allowance.

A spokesperson said: "BT offers customers both unlimited and limited broadband packages, with the vast majority choosing our unlimited download services.

"People opting for our cheaper limited broadband deals usually do so because they only need it for web browsing and sending emails. Only a small percentage of customers ever exceed their data allowance.

"We alert these customers when they’ve used 80% of their data allowance so they can avoid unwanted charges and many choose to upgrade to unlimited services for as little as £5 extra a month."

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