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TalkTalk drops line rental in favour of 'simple' monthly broadband charge

Tuesday, May 3rd 2016 by Ellen Branagh

TalkTalk has become the first major provider to offer customers a combined single monthly price instead of separate broadband and line rental charges.

The company today announced that it is ending the practice of separate pricing, instead moving to ‘all-in pricing’ that includes line rental.

The change, which will come into effect this autumn, is hoped to make broadband pricing simpler and more transparent.

Earlier this year, a report from industry watchdogs the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Ofcom found that 81% of people shown a broadband advert were unable to calculate the total cost of the contract.

It said the approach currently taken by advertisers – where broadband, introductory offer, line rental, and one-off costs are presented separately – is likely to mislead consumers, the report said.

Research from Citizens Advice also previously found that 56% of people are unable to pick out the cheapest deal when comparing broadband ads, with those unable to work out the cheaper option left up to £197 out of pocket over the length of a contract.

Announcing its decision to end separate pricing, TalkTalk’s consumer managing director Tristia Harrison said: “As long as line rental and broadband are priced separately, the temptation to advertise deals in this way will always be there.

“But it’s time for providers to be honest about this – it’s a bad habit we have all been guilty of, it doesn’t serve customers well and it’s time it stopped.

'Value for money'

“That’s why we agree with the government, the consumer groups and the ASA; and why we called on the regulator, Ofcom, last year to address the problem.

Ms Harrison said TalkTalk wants to make things "simpler and fairer" for customers.

“People deserve to know they are getting value for money and, as the value for money provider, TalkTalk is going to fight hard to ensure customers get the transparency they deserve," she said.

“But TalkTalk can’t do this alone. Until other providers follow our lead, households across the UK risk being misled by seemingly good deals that all too often mask extra charges.”

TalkTalk rolled out an all-in monthly price last summer for people trialling its Ultra Fibre Optic broadband service in York, later extending the pricing model to its Black Friday deals late last year.

The company said a single monthly price will be available to anyone taking a new package and existing customers who are re-contracting.

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